While looking around at note-taking apps, I came across Obsidian and Andy Matuschak’s evergreen notes. Many of us develop strategies for takes notes of lectures, meetings, or readings. Evergreen notes, on the other hand, are a synthesis of others’ ideas, filtered by the way you perceive and express the world. Matuschak identifies four main characteristics for these notes: atomic, concept-oriented, densely linked, and associative.

But what does that even mean? I had to think about it—for a couple weeks, at least. What clicked for me is that there’s a reason Obsidian markets itself as a second brain. Each note is like a neuron, notes are usually clustered, synapses connect them with varying strength, and this results in a web of activity rather than an hierarchy.

This brain analogy works well because it emphasizes the importance of linking. It is well established that “when we look at memory function and other thinking skills, that synapses reflect loss of function.” I like how Obsidian surfaces these connections via both graph view and backlinks. It might be an interesting challenge to do something similar on this site. 🤔

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