"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
2 Syntopic reading using Anki4 Syntopic reading using AnkiSyntopic reading using AnkiPart I: How to remember almost anything: the Anki systemAugmenting Long-term Memory2020-09-24Journal
Over time, this is a form of what Mortimer Adler and Charles van Doren dubbed syntopic reading\\ In their marvelous “How to Read a Book”: Mortimer J. Adler and Charles van Doren, “How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading” (1972). I build up an understanding of an entire literature: what's been done, what's not yet been done. Of course, it's not literally reading an entire literature. But functionally it's close. I start to identify open problems, questions that I'd personally like answered, but which don't yet seem to have been answered. I identify tricks, observations that seem pregnant with possibility, but whose import I don't yet know. And, sometimes, I identify what seem to me to be field-wide blind spots. I add questions about all these to Anki as well. In this way, Anki is a medium supporting my creative research. It has some shortcomings as such a medium, since it's not designed with supporting creative work in mind – it's not, for instance, equipped for lengthy, free-form exploration inside a scratch space. But even without being designed in such a way, it's helpful as a creative support.