View Knowledge as a Semantic Tree

We normally think by analogy — by comparing experiences and ideas to what we already know, but it’s important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. With analogy, we are doing this because it’s like something else that was done, or it is like what other people are doing. With first principles, you boil things down to the most fundamental truths…and then reason up from there.

Don’t try to remember, but try to understand; when you understand, you will remember automatically. Sunds simple? But yet, so many people don’t do it like that. They try to cram loads of info and facts into their brains, with the result of forgetting a lot of it.

It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.

So we have to look at the most fundamental principle of any subject matter, instead of separating the subject matter into smaller pieces. Obviously, you can now notice that remembering and learning go together. If you’re good at learning, you’re also a natural at remembering. And viceversa.

Also ask “What does this remind me of?” and “Why does it remind me of it?”

Summing-up: The idea is to understand a complex problem or system, you have to start at the bottom, most basics facts that you know for sure are solid. You can derive more complex phenomena from the more basic ones, but not the other way around.


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