day 8,9: protocols, guidelines and project-management, emotional stability

The system itself is now… complete.
Complete in the sense, that if I “follow” it, it tells me what to do and how to maintain it in the vaguest of terms. That’s what “protocols” and “guidelines” are for.
Also I think I found a way to integrate “projects” in a way, that is workable.

I am getting better at writing and explaining.
Though that also means, I get hyperfocussed on writing explanations.
And if I’m going to write about those concepts, I’d like to explain them fully or not much at all?
I really don’t like tl;dr-versions or summaries for this. Don’t know why.
Probably, because the way I’m doing things… is not something I’ve seen done before.
My system is… fuzzy and informal by design.
Vague intentions I may deign to follow over hard and fast rules.
Something like GTD has hard edges. But I’ve come to learn that this does not work well.
That makes it quite legible though.
But I can’t just say “like this” or link to something that already exists.
Because my system is still evolving. An ongoing negotiation with myself of what is desirable (and when) and a process of discovery of how to get that.
Any summary would naturally pose more questions than it answers.
The fundamental ideas are in place and are implemented.
I could already do a full systems description, but by describing it, documenting it, I’d find a bunch of things to change.
And… well… the system is needed to do things.

It already makes me spend a lot of time to extend it, make it better and more efficient.
But right now, it should not be more self-referential as it already is.
I need to use the system for things that are not itself.
Urgent long-neglected commitments of choice.

And really… this mini-series was probably the worst, most disjointed piece of writing, I ever published or ever will publish. Unfiltered ADHD. Quite cringey.
Especially since I was so uncharacteristically emotional the last week. Very uncharacteristic.
Normally, I would edit for clarity and cut out tangents, even if I do produce them.
But now I am quite a lot calmer.
And if/when I am not anymore, I am confident will be able to deal with that.

Building that system was (and is) important to me.
It was started with newfound resolve, ending half a year of dissociated, experimental floundering about, with neither plan nor discipline.
[well my previous breakout attempts and plans I made, were so terribly boring and uninspring, they made me escape into the comforting embrace of idiotic hyperfocus]
It was important to me, that I… write about it publically.
That I stand by the intention.
Not because I believe there is honor in embarrasing yourself with bad writing or sounding like a lunatic, but because I wanted this system to work really badly.
I needed it to.
Because my back is… to the wall. And that really helps.
Even more reason, I should commit.

Because I have felt similar inspiration before, yet failed.
Many times before, I believed myself to have the solution to the general problem I face.
But incomplete understanding and circumstance… often made me forget even the insights and ideas, that were viable and promising.

Knowing, I would have to write about my progress (even if usually a day late), I was motivated to try harder. To not forget about it. And to break away from distraction.
Writing, commiting myself publically gave me an edge.
Now it served its purpose.

So I leave with a promise to explain the glorious, most-innovative, probabilistic, magical-incremental system (I’ll find a better name, don’t worry), at some point when I get around to it.
Probably within a month or so.
This very system was the point of this long-neglected blog “antifragile agency”.
But I could not write about what I did not yet possess, nor knew how to achieve.

Now I do.

day 6, 7: refactoring synesthesia system, building up TB, reflections on meditation/magic practices

Progress. Lots of changes.
No energy left to document any of them here.
The description of my ideas would be messy, anyway.
The system is a synthesis of too many concepts, a lot of life experience and the many lessons of previous failures.
So when I hand-waive at “magic” or “incremental” or the “problem of continued mindfulness” and make a mess out of things… it’s due to not having the time to be formal and precise.
There are principles which I use, to implement a system to get control over my cognitive processes.
The aim of the system is more than just about “being organized”.
It’s also and more so about creating an organizational framework, that I slowly weave into my perception of reality itself.
The aim of which, is to sidestep the deficits in executive function, that come along with ADHD.
But I have much higher ambitions than that.
And I am pioneering this approach. Noone has quite attempted, what I am doing.
[to my knowledge, at least; certainly individual components of it, but not for the same purpose]
And since I’m building this very thing “incrementally”, I can’t even describe it, since even I am still learning about the shape it will take.
It is very much a project of my own.
And I’m happy about that.
And I apologize, dear reader, that I will thus have to be quite vague, obtuse and hand-waivy.
Once it matures, this will change. But I am still in the critical phase of it.
No time for writing down all the ideas, finding the right words.
[if I tried, I’d discover new ideas and if I wrote about them… I’d never stop writing]
Soon though.

I am at 50% efficiency of time used.
That’s… a good number comparitively.
I feel energized… till I deal with quite a bit of mental exhaustion.
That’s progress though.
Mental exhaustion is much better than the dissociated confusion, I’ve had before.
The effect of the weeklong reading-binge seem to slowly recede.
When I’m taking breaks, I allow myself reading time. Or internet surfing time.
Or maybe I can’t prevent myself? Hmm…. not really compulsion.
Part tactically tapering off. Part not having protocols in place to use “mentally exhausted” time differently.
Making so much progress, making so many decisions…
Not quite easy.
The more I do, the more I notice, I have to do.
An old problem. One that used to discourage me, especially if I can’t work without breaks.
No longer though.

Another problem is that I have to intersperse work on the system with meditaiton practice to stabilize the system.
But since I’m making up my own idiosyncratic school of meditation for this, as I go along…
it’s difficult to remember. Or rather, when I remember, it’s difficult to know what to do.
But I’m building a protocol for that.

The changes of the last few days were about protocols.
Formalizing what to do when. Giving myself a list of steps for determining my behaviour.
Sounds rigid, but… it’s done in a way, that it’s not.
And there it is again… can’t explain that either. Yet.

I wonder and worry a little bit… my new approach is heavily visualization-based.
I am getting better. But there is extreme variance in vividness.
If I manage to meditate outside for an hour or longer… get somewhat lucky when lying in bed with my eyes closed… the vividness of visualization is extreme.
I simply cannot match that on command. Not yet, anyway.
Can’t just do screen work for two hours, close my eyes and see vivid images like that.
So I kinda have to bet… my system as I am designing it… assumes that a lot of what I’m trying to do can be practiced to a high level.

Let me tell you though… at the highest of levels. The pinnacle of human achievement in visualization.
Visualization so strong, that you actually override your visual perception and start drawing glowing runes into the air. Or on command, put a color filter on top of your vision.
Daniel Ingram does that and it’s part of what inspired me for this all:

Of course I want that. But this form of “magical” practice, whilst very impressive…
involves mutli-week retreats of intense meditation. By people with decades of intense meditation experience (and specifically those who are rather hardcore).
And from the descriptions of it, also… a kind of cultivated psychosis. Or at least well… magical thinking.
So yeah… what I’m trying to do is cultivate what the Buddhists know as “psychic powers”.
Except using my own ad-hoc created system of cultivation and not their esoteric mythology.
Or indulging in solipsistic confusion about “What’s reality anyway?”.

So in the same way… I do hope to one day paint glowing symbols into the air with my fingers.
[though that level of intensity is merely desirable, but not necessary for my ambitions]
But if not? If this can truly be done only on retreat? Well, then I will have lost nothing.
After all, I aim to live a life on the offensive, rather one on retreat 🙂

But if I ever pull that off, I’d never be confused about the fact, that this is just strong visualization and cultivated technique. And there aren’t actually glowing runes in the air.
The field is understudied and underexploited.
And whilst I never would have known about such feats being possible, other than by reading “Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha”… I’m certainly not going to use any ancient Buddhist text to cultivate such abilities.
Or take Alesteir Crowley or some other magical system seriously as a guide.
[turns out, there’s a lot of those… apparently demon summoning… involves vivid hallucinations about actual demons (I never knew that crazy people led such exciting lifes!)]

There’s a more complicated argument about… perception-shaping here. Hmm… forgot the term. But if I read, that I have to master the 4th Jhana before I can cultivate lé psychic powers… if I took that seriously, well I’d set up a self-fulfilling prophecy of not being able to do what I need to.
I have done formal meditation à la “The Mind Illuminated” in the past and cultivated it, explored it… but I have no interest… or rather no ability to follow such an external program rigorously.

So I rather invent my own mediative/magical practice from scratch.
Or rather from my own knowledge base of modern theories of mind, consciousness, synesthesia, autism, ADHD, predictive processing, Friston’s Free Energy principle, psychology, software design…

No Buddhist actually tried using psychic powers to make themselves a more capable person. As cool as magical practice is, it seems an indulgence of esoteric sorts and the otherworldly meditation prodigies in their monasteries. Good for them. I’m not judging.
[I lied, I am judging and totally do not respect that… which itself is a bit of a character flaw and this is totally a straw man…. and blablabla not all Buddhists/meditators are like that]

But me? I’m not in this for spiritual attainment of any sorts.
I’m with the Stoics of antiquity. In this world, of this world, for this world.
I crave a different kind of virtue.
If it’s not making me get better at earning power, wealth & status (those and other juicy preferrred indifferents), then it’s a sinful waste of a mortal’s limited time.

Oh, I’ll certainly reinvent the wheel.
And after discovering my best practices after loads of experimentation, I will find them easily in the ancient texts.
But I still think, that making a system for myself, for my own purposes… is the more efficient path nevertheless.

day 5: color changes, partial software reformat and withdrawal effects

So after writing the blog-post, I meditated and thought deeply about the color-system and how it works. Discovered loads of new ideas and problems of the current implementation.
Made many changes. And then started to reorganize the structure in TheBrain to fit with those changes.
Making a lot of design decisions to solve the “continuation of mindfulness”-problem.
[will elaborate on that another time]
But then after some hours… I burnt out. Started with confusion and lethargy.
Was not able to visualize much anymore. Or control my thoughts much.
Not enough energy/clarity left for further action.

So I took a nap and then later, I felt resentment and despair. And anxiety. The feeling, that I am running out of time. Regret over wasted time. Paralysis of sorts.
Ended up taking a break on the evening, reading two newly published chapters of rationalist stories I follow (Animoprhs, Origin of Species) and spending loads of time commenting on them.
An old hyperfocus pattern. Felt better than… well doing nothing.
I’d say… it was a kind of withdrawal-effect.
I was not surprised about that happening, tbh.
After writing the post yesterday, I knew that I would feel inspired to never pick up stories again.
And that… was still true. I believed in my commitment to never lose days again.
But spending so much time doing nothing but reading, the last couple weeks has lots of attached momentum. So the hours I wasted were already lost in a sense.
Would it have been better, if I could have stopped myself and… stared at a wall the whole time I felt extreme depression? Maybe.
But do I actually have the self-control to do that, when it occurs? Nope. Not yet, anyway.
Figuring out how to control ones actions, when at any time, incredibly harsh/intense moods might come about… that is part of the “continuation of mindfulness”-problem.
My mood did improve, when reading the stories.
Would it have, anyway? Maybe.
Was there another way to improve my mood? Well, I certainly didn’t feel like exercise.
Maybe it would have helped?
Finding protocols and best practices to ride those out, that’s part of the problem, I was trying to solve just before. But I did not get that far.

day 6: [will merge with day 6 post, once that day is over]
Momentum of yesterday ended up with me checking in on responses on Reddit. And some idle reading. Completely out of bounds of my system. 2 hours lost.
But another recent pattern is to press alt+3 and check the timestamps.
So I actually realize how much time was spent, which is good.

The system itself does not have a good way to ensure, that I keep using it.
No guaranteed re-entry, when the pattern is broken by sleep.
Writing this… seems to establish a good pattern to make me go back to work.
Can’t exactly write about my system and then… not work on my system.
Blogging itself might create a pattern, with its own associated momentum to move me back into it.
I am not… using the system, not logging my time for writing this blog-post.
But I will get back to it, just after.
And I hope, I’ll manage to use this experience to derive a protocol, that I can mentally practice to prevent this situation happening again.
Though of course, it is not a binary proposition.
What I can hope for, is an improvement. Not a complete solution.

magical incremental org system day 4: hyperfocus fuel exhaustion

On Day 3 I could not pivot from the orange/fifth aspect.
Too much ambiguity on what to do next. So I ended up… reading “The Wandering Inn” till 1am. But that was good. I was quite afraid, I would read till 6am, like some days before.
I ended up dreaming about my own “magic” practice combined with TWI-story aspects. Fairly coherent and compelling dreams that just… continued telling the story.
My theoretical understanding of my own magical practice actually improved from those!
Aside: roughly the second, yellow aspect “metacognitive introspective awareness” being related to the eight, brown aspect of “projection”. I shall describe my color-based/synesthesia/magical mediation practice once it’s more mature.

But on Day 4 I ended up reading 16 hours of TWI today. After an hour, I was vaguely aware, that I was getting close to the end of the published material. So I skimmed the boring/less salient/non-main story stuff… and actually am caught up to the end. Closure.

Now there’s still interesting stuff to read there, but it’s below threshold.
I will continue to get daydreams about it, but since there’s no actual strongly associated, fueling behaviour to it, I’m sure it’ll be not that much trouble.

TWI was dominating my waking experience, the last few weeks.
But that also meant, that it replaced all other “addictive” behaviours.
Took away their oxygen.
If I decided to stupidly go on YouTube or look, another book to read or read an interesting blog which I must comment on…
I’d definitely be lost in hyperfocus again.

But there’s no compulsion now, forcing me to start.
In a way TWI was a uniquely destructive memetic hazard.
But losing weeks to it… it made me also realize what I lacked from my own life.

Stories are compelling to me, because the characters have a more interesting experience, that I would have, if I did not read the stories.

Part of it, is the montage-effect or time compression.
Read a couple paragraphs about how a character trains, then in the next paragraph, the character gets the fruit of their effort.
The “numbers going up”-charm of LitRPGs.
Another part of it, is the “slice of life”-aspect. Particularly in TWI you can vicariously experience the joy of friendship… without needing the overhead of RL-friends.
Hmm… that sounds super lame of me, as if I couldn’t make friends or lacked any and all social graces. That is not the case.
But it’s compression again, allowing you to have the distilled experience of several relationships. “The Wandering Inn” is part LitRPG, but large part slice of life.
Hmm… actual life isn’t all cake slices, though.

And of course, in a fictional universe, there is always… meaning, clear goals and reward for introspection and derived action.
For example, all rationalist fiction uses fictional settings. HPMOR has magic.
“Worth the Candle” is a LitRPG. Origin of Species plays in the Pokémon-universe.
Taking action is a lot more salient, if everything you do has the force multiplier of magic/game-system and well… Pokémon.

The last setting also has something quite uniquely compelling. The world of “Pokémon: Origin of Species” has a world where people by and large are… actually reasonable and fairly virtuous.
People make sense and are not… idiotic or weak-willed.
[not that I am not a weak-willed idiot myself, but at least I know it!]
Time and resources are not wasted. There is extremely little bureaucracy.
Hierarchy and competition are abound and are all competence-based.
Humanity makes an effort, so they don’t get destroyed by the monsters.
Similar to this:

Is it a realistic depiction of humanity? No.
Can a society really be like that? No.

But… there’s still a yearning for that better place.
Where you are easily understood. Where our expectations are not so low.
I have… mostly…. overcome my disgust with the way the world is.
Not useful to be resentful or feel haughtily superiour.
But still there’s a longing for that better world.
And few people have the kind of vision of how “things should or could be”.
I even understand why people are not like that. Cannot be like that.
At least not so easily.
Of course, I myself fall short of any and all of the most basic ideals of rationality or as the Stoics would put it… virtue.
That’s the crazy thing about hyperfocus of that kind.
I may read Seneca and think… that man…. 2000 years ago already understood so much. And revel in the ancient wisdom.
Hmm… but insight porn is just that.
Intellectual understanding of virtue or rationality is inspiration… or it feels inspiring.

I wish to be wise, rational and capable. Live my life with skill.
But people are social animals.
It is difficult to do this alone.
To have to lead by example.
All those stories and ideas… they shaped me into… having values I suppose.

But figuring those out… I ended up being extremely withdrawn from the world, that I live in.
Not being able to take the world seriously.
Not having the strength for a serious effort.
Failing over and over again and not understanding why I am failing.
Understanding my own weakness, when the strength I seek, I cannot observe in others.

Hmm… but anyway. ..
I’m on a good track.
Determination and all that, I have it.
My past failures have been lessons, my understanding of myself is… good enough now.

I think, I am now finally over wasting hours and days in hyperfocus.
Or at least uncontrolled or idle/non-productive hyperfocus.
No more TV, no more binge-reading. No more… uncontrolled research rabbit-holes.

There are conditioning techniques, I could or should have used before…
creating physical pain or disgust-associations.
That would have worked.
But since the escapism kept me sane over the years, gave me vision… I never had the heart to use them, after I experimented with thenm and learnt that they worked.
They did not occur to me to use as tools.
I guess… in a way those hyperfocus-fueled escapist tendencies… they were load-bearing walls. Essential aspects of myself.
Now I know, that they are no longer.
They inform my values and may give inspiration, but when I spend hours reading/fantasizing…. they are in the way.
I am inspired enough.
And I know enough, to have the confidence, that my own life and with my own goals can compete with the richness and meaning of the stories/philosophy, I used to escape to.

magical incremental org system: day 2 and day 3

mostly dealing with/figuring out “mental inventory”

Writing this a day late. That’s all right, though.
Got up late. Made progress on the “mental inventory”.

My room is shaped like an upside down “L”.
I mentally subdivided it into three areas “entrance”, “connective” and “main room”.
In the “connective”-part is my table with my computer. Where I do all my work.
The main-room is mostly empty space and a bed. I need lots of empty space to play VR.
And to not feel like a caged animal and become extremely depressed.

end of day 1

I started day 1 by pushing all my stuff, all my containers into the “main room”.
So I deliberately created chaos, to force myself to start a new room-organization from scratch.
It was fairly organized before… but the organization tended to decay. So it was not good enough.

pushing all stuff into the main room from the connective, entrance is to the right

Then I ended up organizing the “entrance” and the “connective”-part.
All drawers/containers/things/objects have assigned places and I memorized where all my objects are. Inventorizing it all in a nested list.

part of the list, entrance, some entries collapsed

On day 1 and day 2, I added objects from the main room and neatly and intentionally organized in “entrance” and “connective”.
Everything in those parts of the room was intentionally laid out. I practiced visualizing the room and mentally flying thru it.
So I changed betwen visualizing/rearranging/documenting in the list.
Adding more and more objects.
Seeing all my objects with that level of clarity… I was surprised how clearly I was able to do that.
I am not naturally a visual thinker… but my occasional visualization exercises and meditation practice over the years must have paid off.

partial view of connective and entrance

It felt very empowering.
However… day 2 still suffered from the problem that most of my room was in chaos.
And I’m still not a visual thinker by nature.
Day 1 saw me taking taking double my usual Lisdexamfetamine dose to help me out with the visualization part and to get me to build the necessary momentum to start it all.
That and a three hour meditation session combined with it.
Day 2… I took only my normal dose (for safety reasons) and I made some progress for a couple hours… further did good work organizing and adding important objects, learning about how to make my environment an extension of myself.
But there were many things I didn’t know how to deal with. Updating the documentaiton was slow and annoying. Most of my room was still chaos, I had to climb over all my stuff to get to my bed… that was kinda depressing.
And I couldn’t maintain the visualization-vividness of day 1. So I kinda… dissociated and ended up reading “The Wandering Inn” for…. ten hours from 16:00 to 6:00.
Ooops 🙂
Normally hyperfocus does not get quite that bad.
I avoid videogames, since they provide continuous never-ending entertainment.
Most literature is not appealing to me anymore. And I am a fast reader.
But… well “The Wandering Inn” is among the largest webfictions. And even though I skim large parts or skip… it just…. keeps being interesting 😦
It’s not that this practice is prone to such hyperfocus-breakdowns.
It’s that I spend the last week (or longer?) before this reorg-attempt being in continuous hyperfocus reading this beautiful story.
So… there was a habituation aspect there. And since it never ended… well my mind did not have closure.
Today is day 3. I planned on reading another hour after breakfast… which turned into 3 hours.
I finally figured out the underlying issue:

I gave myself an impossible task. Or rather had fuzzy/unrealistic success criteria.
“Find new/better places for all my stuff and memorize it all”
That is actually too difficult, takes too long and too inefficient.

Too long, because… well there’s a lot of small stuff.
Too diffiuclt, because sometimes I can visualize really well… till I can’t anymore.
I think I’m getting better at this, but I have to pace myself.
Too inefficient, because… most things aren’t actually needed. Pareto-principle and all that.

And even with what I did, there are still resolution issues.
I didn’t want to dismantle my computer/cabling setup, since it’s fairly well done already.
And I’m sick of doing that again this moment.
So I only roughly documented all the stuff that’s on my table, but not where exactly my laptop/mouse/keyboard/other peripherals/remotes/penss/notepads/etc. is supposed to be.
Or how long the cables are and where they go.
Or how long each cable is, or what kind of tag it has.
Cable management is a complex affair with an adjustable, electric standing-desk.
Even though all cables are labelled, I end up changing my setup a lot and making changes.
If I make an effort to straighten it all out, it will end up messy again at some point.
But visualizing/memorizing/rearranging that much stuff, that quickly is still beyond me.

Similar issues with the cable-box. Keeping my cables organized… quickly being able to connect peripherals or switch out monitors or laptops… very important to me.
All those cables were already labelled on both ends, showing me the length and what they are.
But I can’t really memorize that many objects at once.
So I had to group the cables together by type and vaguely memorize how I place them in the box.


Over time I will incrementally memorize the “usb c”, “radio cables”, “usb a to micro-usb”, “ethernet” (and so on) bundles.
Over time, I will increase the resolution of my mental visualization, so to speak.

So I ended up figuring out, that… this “mental inventory” cannot be done in a couple of days.
It is a continuous process in increasing the resolution of what I have.
Adding more objects when needed.
And keeping the chaos at least semi-organized in big, fuzzy chunks.

Figuring out how I have to go about slowly increasing resolution, how to add objects… well now I know. Do it incrementally and slowly over time.
Heuristics like:
Low-resolution areas don’t get new stuff.
Integrate things from the chaos-areas, when you need them.
Carefully balance mental review, modification, documentation and further integration as not to confuse yourself. (and how to do that)
Allow adding clothes-containers with high fuzzyness (because clothes are important to have immediate access, and knowledge where each article of clothing is, can be developed later).

And the most important one:
Organize chaos. At least roughly compact it, so you can freely move about in your room.

much less depressing than at the start, if not quite space-optimized for VR like before

So now I have a rough understanding of how to do the “mental inventory”.
Within the magical system/my synesthesia coding, the spatial/orange/fifth aspect is much better developed now.
Over time, I can incrementally and periodically improve the resolution of my visualization.
And the completeness of it.
This is my personal room. Over the following weeks, I can finnish it. Get more used to it.
Do the kitchen, the bathrooms and organize other spaces.
But I can be happy about what I achieved now.
From this stable foundation, I can shift my focus to the other aspects.
Processes/Habits are a part of the teal/memory/sixth-aspect and can be much better cultivated.
By having a clear idea where everything is and is supposed to be, my environment will be much less prone to falling into chaos. If it’s easy to remember where everything is supposed to be, I will remember to always put tools back.
So over time… I will never have to waste time tidying up.
Mis-en-plas will be a guaranteed feature.
The cultivated orange aspect, implicitly will create processes and habits.

But I will not focus on the teal aspect. But real habits/automated behaviour?
Something like “get up at specific time every day”/”do this exercise program”/”remember to shave everyday”/”keep track and review your commitments”…
That is something that is far beyond me.
You cannot run a periodic macro, if your code itself is buggy or your program crashes all the time.

So next up is the red/first aspect of “formal organization/planning” over the blue/forth aspect “time”.
And also probably the orange/spatial-aspect for software (window management etc.).

magical incremental org system: day 1

day name: init

[motivation of post: mainly in creating system investment by (somewhat theoretical, since my blog is tiny) commitment mechanism; also to document how an incremental org system changes and evolves]

[scrutability: probably inscrutable for anyone bu myself. I can write, but translating internal knowledge to text… meh. Takes too long, and I’m in a critical beginning stage. If it works out, I will elaborate and explain.]

I’m building an organizational system. I built many in the last decade. None of them survive.
The last ones, that I built in TheBrain actually lasted quite a while.
But they had frustrating overhead issues. [even though the last Brain, worth mentioning contained 5.5k Thoughts relatively small relative to previous iterations]
And whilst TheBrain enabled unprecedented functionality as a human being in the past… it also led to a kind of compartmentalization.
It made me… like a neurotypical person performance-wise.
I loved being so organized. But there was also a lot of friction and procrastination in what I was doing. And the system was too big and complex, too fast.
And refactoring it was… really difficult.
So it became aversive to use and some other unrelated reasons made using TheBrain unviable.

So I tried switching to OneNote, which has some aspects that I absolutely love.
[pen-input! 2d free-form!]
But that didn’t work out. In some ways OneNote is very annoying.
And it lacks many of the strengths of TheBrain.

So I abandoned most of my working systems, oscillated between half-baked OneNote-systems… and severe dissociation via hyperfocus-episodes. There were times of reflection in-between.
You learn interesting things about cognition, if you ask yourself… “So… why exactly did I spent the last 20 days reading for 12 hours on average?”.
[note: not insanity, since over a larger timescale, I didn’t try the same things over and over again. I certainly tried variations of the things. And entirely different things!]
I knew a lot already about it in general, but now I understand some ADHD-dynamics and probably some factors unique to myself.

Now… I might actually know enough to act as a rational agent across time.

Here are some screenshot from the red/logical structure in TheBrain 12. [well the Plex-part, anyways]

I would show the notes… but they are still a mess.

I don’t actually know where to write which things.
Projects do not have “sharp edges” from one another or from the day-Thought.
Info is distributed in a sprawl. And the projects have to-dos which should be projects in their own right, using the structure is actually super-slow and confusing.
And it’s not a self-sustaining structure as in: looking at this mess, won’t tell me what I’m supposed to do and there is no process that makes sure I will continue to use the system… but that’s all ok.
It’s just a very small start to get oriented on the important things to build.
I did not try to make every idea I’ve ever had into a project with actionable items.
[actually impossible, since writing down ideas creates more ideas creating a never-ending task]

Tomorrow I will figure the basic issues out and refactor what little I have.
[into something that works better, just have to steal and combine some earlier solutions I had]
That’s part of the “incremental”-aspect of the system.

Now an example of the magical aspect:

problem I’m trying to solve:
Where is my [insert object] when I need it?

mental inventory project

Why is that a problem? Cause ADHD-stuff. (long explanation in another post)

I had an inventory off all my things and their locations before.
Still wasted a lot of time hunting for things and the overhead in maintenance was big.
And… I forgot to put things where they were supposed to, a lot.
Or forgot to add newly bought gadgets. Or document changes. Or avoid duplicates.
Or figure out how to name things. Or forgot how I named a thing, that I was looking for…
like what language did I even use?
Mostly I think in English, but some objects I’d instinctively use German for.
So the trick is…
I’ll just memorize where everything is AND maintain a less-complicated where I just note down the location, should I forget it.
[instead of creating a typed Thought for each object, which was awkward and cumbersome to maintain or modify]

This is sort of like loci-method or a memory palace.
Except, I’m just trying to remember the palace itself. (and all of its hundreds of treasures, like screwdrivers, keyboards, paper supplies, pens, shoes, underwear, books, dumbbells, cables, glasses etc.)

hmm… wrote the “why is this a problem”-post just now. So I don’t want to add more details describing the solution and why it’s “magical” and “incremental”. Probably in day 2.
Didn’t mean to write so much. Too much to edit *blegh*

synesthesia: 1 red (version 0.1)

1 is associated with the color red.
Its main aspect is mental pliancy.
Other aspects of it are system-connection, inventory, organization, scripts, software, protocols, tasks and goals, awareness, processes and the mental aspects of Sati.
Consider this less as a clear-cut list, but loose association.

A simple example:
I mentally create a shopping list and I visualize it as a red frame with the words “shopping list”.
Items that I would shop for, I might visualize as what they look like.
Or I could simply visualize the objects as red words, too.
If the list was ordered in the way, I would route thru the store, I would visualize them in the other colors. Say, that my fifth item would be “canned beans”, then I would visualize them in orange.
If I later decide I want “canned tuna” and it should be my fifth item instead, because I would reach it before the “canned beans”, I would rather not
revisualize/reassign “canned beans” to be my sixth object and make it teal.
Rather I would define make the fifth item be an area I visit and call it “canned goods”. Theoretically, I could then mentally color the items in “canned goods” by order, but there’s little advantage in doing so.
Once I’m at the right place in the store, I don’t need such a fine-grained order.

TODO: Learn how to use colors in blog entries.
TODO: Add some images to illustrate the shopping list example. [and make it more complex]

conditioning synesthesia for fun and profit

Several months ago, I have started to intentionally associate a color with a number.
Now, each number from 1 to 9 (and 0 itself) has a color associated with it.

Why would I want that?
Well, I wanted to know if I could.
I am a verbal thinker, but visualization skills are generally useful for all kinds of things.
[“all kinds of things” is also a correct answer to the general “What do I want?”-question]
So naturally, I wish that visual thinking came to me as easily and fluidly as words do.

Well, it turns out, I can create and strengthen those associations.
[they are still weak, but definitely more salient now, than when I started]

Then I wanted to give numbers another discrete-dimension, to turn numbers into more salient, more distinct objects for the purpose of mental arithmetic.
I hope that by changing the numerical encoding, I can extend the limits, imposed by my working memory.
Also a color-dimension could be used to extend a major system encoding by another digit, which will be quite helpful, once I get around to memorizing a hundred pictures.
Unexpectedly, I have found that with color association like that, I can overload any number/color with a lot of other useful mental objects and make them more salient in turn.
Those applications show far more immediate promise and end up forming a foundation of my current practice.

strength of association
I do not know how the salience compares to people who naturally have number-color synesthesia.
I admit, to not having researched those people very much, as I didn’t expect to learn anything too actionable.
Maybe I will get around to it one day.
But knowing that those people exist and are human and therefore have the same kind of brain (more or less), leads me to believe, that a similar trick of perception should be something I could learn thru practice.
Having the extra applications, in turn seem to strengthen the number-color associations themselves.
[wait… do they? I think they do. The above stateme vaguely feels true, if uncertain.]
So I have reason to believe, they will become stronger over time, anyway.

I wrote the last post with the intention to start blogging daily.
But making intentions that I will follow thru on, is still a difficult task for me.
As Farl Kriston (probably) once tweeted “Life is the joyful minimization of prediction error.”.
Suffice it to say, I am not quite skilled at that whole thing, but I am trying to make progress.
Predictions are hard, especially about the future.
I have dozens of topics and ideas, I could write about and I think, and in the world, where I am the kind of person, who actually writes them down, I think they might have an audience.
One issue is, that having so many ideas, which build on top of each other, and without knowing me, as well as I know myself, which is a task, even I struggle with daily, they might be close to unintelligible.
I tend to not avoid starting to write, because… if I started, when should I stop?
And when do I stop to edit terrible sentences like the one, two sentences ago?
And here we go, finally noticed that I am on a tangent.
Back to synesthesia.

This is my encoding, and the first term next to it, is the primary association.
So a concept is associated with a specific color which is associated with a number.
By the transitive property, one could assume, that the number is also associated with the concept, but the conceptual association, and the way I visualize the concept in application, this does not seem to be nearly as strong.
Though I don’t go out of my way to train the number-concept association in either direction.

the basic associations

As you can see, those are a bunch of words, that would come up during buddhist-style meditation plus a couple more, which don’t quite fit that frame.
Many more concepts (and hopefully synergetic and similar) concepts are associated with each color, and they are heavily overloaded.
What is this all good for?
I will explain in the posts to come.
When is that? See below:

an application example

time to write

I have ideas, that I wish to share.
About software, philosophy, meditation and virtue.
Projects and scripts
All that and whatever else I think is interesting.
Sometimes, probably just pointing at UIs and software and yelling “bad!”.
Sometimes, I will challenge others’ opinions.
My disagreement or thoughts on something tend to be waaaaaay too long for comments.
Sometimes, it will be essays.
I think I know of some concepts, that nobody has ever heard of, that are missing.
Perhaps I may even crosspost to LessWrong or write a sequence.

A lot of it, will be incredibly pretentious.
It must be so, since I am a pretentious kind of person, but also try to be a honest one.
But I must not shy away from sharing what I think, even if I surely cringe at what I wrote later.
I guess, I could write in a way to minimize that risk.
Hedge a lot more, but that makes for bad prose, because it would add overhead for signalling humbleness.
But that would be boring to read and mind-numbing to write.
So I will probably write something pretentious, but will make fun of it at the same time.
Not because I lack confidence in my opinions and perspectives.
I do have that in spades. But so I do have doubts about those.
This is not mutually contradictory.
But I might elaborate on that later.
The process inside me, which generates thoughts and opinions, comes to them in a conclusion

Why write?
Hiding what and how I think, makes me unintelligible for others, but I do wish to be understood.
That is part of it. Even if this blog never develops a following, I can at least link to my beliefs in personal conversations.

A more important reason, but one, that I cannot completely explain either:
aside in cursive: Perhaps, because I do not understand it yet? ugh… now I have to write about what it means to understand something 😦
The more I write, the more I will have to write to explain the already written. Hence why starting to blog for real, was such a difficult task. Anyway, the solution to this is incrementalism (define that later).

Writing things out, helps me remember them.
I have over the years learnt many lessons and found solutions to many of my problems.
And some problems I have discovered, but I have entirely forgotten that they exist!
What I have never been able to do, was to use the solutions I have consistently.
A problem with a solution, I tend to ignore completely, since… it is boring.
Implementation is boring. Habits are boring. But boring is the wrong word, too.
“things being boring” is also a problem, that I have found many solutions to.
It has more to do with salience.
There are several meta-problems here, which I shall describe later, too.
Also something I shall write about more.

I shall write every day now.

TheBrain extension suite for AHK update


  • replaced font_color_selection with multi_markdown-function to change font-family, font-size, font-color, background color to something specific with just one command
  • try alt+shift+h for an example and adapt to your needs
  • added new keybindings:

alt shift m for opening new window from search [Content maximized]

alt shift m for opening new window from search [Plex maximized]

alt shift o for opening Attachment without activating underlying Thought

alt l [follow text-link in new Content-maximized window]

They will only work with my specific keybindings or by adpating the code in a few places with your own.
My keybindings/explanation how to modify will be added later.

TheBrain_extension_suite/ at main · DavidGretzschel/TheBrain_extension_suite (

blogging will start soon

[epistemic status: questionable, will need more evidence for this]

I will write about coping with ADHD, meditation and software tools.
Also stoicism, rationality and whatever happens to be on my mind.
Some of my writing will be practical, some more philosophical.
When I speak of software tools, I mean to present designed workflows for doing practical things and configurations/setups/code for helping others adopt them more quickly than it took me to create them.
The style will probably be all over the place with varying degrees of quality.

I hope to get good at this and this blog will be worth reading.

Update: 27.1.2021
But doing incremental writing for rough posts on this wordpress-blog does not flow very well.
I am writing a lot to myself in TheBrain at the moment and I can adapt that into more refined blog posts here later. So that will happen soon enough.
Just not right now.

TheBrain 12 expand/collapse mechanics, part 1

More details have emerged here:
Will update this once a new version is out (higher than 12.11).

Just realized that TheBrain 12 could export Notes as a PDF, so I added that. I mean…. I knew that, but I never had a use case before, so I didn’t think of it immediately.
Not exactly interactive, but it certainly looks good now! But for testing/understanding do load the original Note into TheBrain.

about this post:
So I wrote a post trying to figure out expand/collapse in TB12 in TB12 itself. Using all the cool Markdown features. Which of course didn’t nicely translate into this….. WordPress-Gutenberg-Editor thing.
If you’re reading this, just download the zip with the two .md-files and read it in TheBrain 12 yourself.
There’s even a NotesStyle to read it exactly like it was intended!!AnW9DTwVxi8MiPw8dJcojljVs95kxw?e=xGSR89

PDF download:

Downlaod the folder, open the .md-files and paste the content straight into two separate Thought Notes.
Open the Thought-folder of the blog-post Thought to paste in the .data-folder to see the image.
Import the .nstyle-file for maximum viewing pleasure.

If someone could tell me in the comments or TheBrain-forum how I can paste from TheBrain into Gutenberg (or the classical WordPress-editor) whilst also preserving images, checkboxes, center and left-alignment and color, I’d be very happy to hear it.
I’ve just gotten good at using all the bells & whistles it offers, don’t want to use a different editor for blog posts.
Iirc, publication-readiness was a main reason for choosing Markdown for TB11.
Not seeing that yet, but I have no idea what I’m doing here.

Also any way to get this page to look like my NotesStyle specifies in TheBrain?
That would be extremely cool.

Anything below this line is copied over from the Note and looks kinda terrible, because I’m not good at this WordPress stuff yet.



Part 2 would be, all the bugs and issues with it.
I’ll need to write part 1 first as a reference, though.
I’m literally need this reference on screen here, because otherwise I can’t keep them straight.
But I think it may be helpful for others, who are trying to use those too.

I’ll briefly describe all commands and what keybdings I set for them.
I recommend copying them, to follow along easily.

the commands

group 1 (toggle):

ctrl+F7 Notes>Expand/Collapse Toggle
Switch the expanded/collapsed state of the current line

group 2 (local):

ctrl+F8  Notes>Collapse here
Collapse everything possible in the current area of the note
ctrl+F9 Notes>Expand Here

Show everything in the current area of the note

group 3 (all):

ctrl+F10 Notes>Collapse all except here
Collapse all except here
ctrl+F11 Notes>Collapse All
Collapse all top level lines in the note
ctrl+F12 Notes>Expand All
Expand all lines so everything in the notes is shown



1# > 2# > 3# > 4# > 5#
Or in words:
Title>Heading>Sub-heading>”section”>”sub section”
Title, Heading and Sub-heading have various styling options in “Notes Style”.
As of writing sections and sub-sections are no longer listed in the official Markdown reference, but they’re still in the program.
A section is a bit smaller than a heading. A sub-section is the same size as a section, but for the collapse/expand hierarchy it is one level lower.

trivia and cornercases

what about tabbed list elements
  • bullet lists
  1. ordered lists
  • to-do lists
  • checked to-do lists
    • and their indented elements
    • of a different type
      • and their indented elements
        1. and all the other
        2. cases
        3. you could possibly think of

Bullet lists, ordered lists and to-do list-checkboxes work the same way.
You can mix and match list-elements however you like and it won’t matter for expand/collapse purposes.
An untabbed list element is always lower in the hierarchy.
Then you can keep tabbing to decrement a list-element’s position in the hierarchy.
caveat: I think it was more complicated than that, but I don’t want to look into it right now

what about color, bold and italics

Text color and background color does not seem to matter at all.:(style=”color:#ffff00″):

what about right-alined and left-aligned text for list-elements

–: I am unsure, but I think that they don’t
:-: really support tabbing in the first place
:-: ##### …right-alined and center-aligned #-elements
Go away, please. I’m getting a headache 😦
:– ##### do #-elements even support center and left-alignment?!
Center-alignment works for 4-#. Left-alignment doesn’t.
I’ll just assume that’s the general rule for now.

what about pasted-in images

no clue

general expand/collapse rules

Everything collapses to the next highest level.
I tested this without gaps in #-count.
I’ll just assume that’s true generally, though.

how do commands work

Right-click menu in the Note.
Using a keybinding or /command.
Left-clicking on the left edge of Note on the little down-chevron or right-chevron

where do commands work

Group 3 commands work everywhere.
Group 1 and 2 commands work only on the line, that has a chevron.

why can I see group 1 and 2 commands on this non-chevron line?

Because that’s s a bug.


I call them chevrons, because that sounds cooler than caret.

show me a picture!

Happy now?

No. Why is there no chevron at the last 4-# element

Simple, there’s no text below it.

when/how can I see them?

Down-chevrons are only visible when the mouse cursor hovers over the left-edge of the Note.
They show that you can click on them to collapse text.
Right-chevrons are always visible.
They show that you can click on them to expand hidden text.

group 1 (toggle)/left-click on chevron:

ctrl+F7 Notes>Expand/Collapse Toggle does the same as left-click on chevron.
It’s pretty great. Kinda makes the most intuitive sense.
You don’t see the down-chevron on the line with the text-cursor, but that’s not an issue really.

group 2 (local):

They also are only available on a chevroned line. Except this time, it’s way less intuitive.
They collapse everything possible in the current area of the note. And now I know what you’re going to ask….

what on earth is “the current area of the note”

Collapsing the “current area of the note” always collapses the current line’s text. But also collapses all #-elements and above below it, that are of equal #-count. The reverse for expand.


I know. Just play with the example Note, till they seem reasonable. Also play with this Note. There’s lots of things to expand and collapse.

group 3 (all)

Collapse all and expand all work as you’d expect and they work everywhere.
They collapse everything collapsible and expand everything expandable.

what about “Collapse all except here”

I wish you hadn’t asked me that. “Collapse all except here” does…. things.
It is the Schleswig-Holstein question of Collapse-command and probably the single-most convoulted and weird feature in TB 12.
I can kind of intuit what it does and I don’t like it.
To play around with it, press ctrl+F10 and ctrl+F12 in quick succession. Then you try putting it into words.

TheBrain 11 keybindings: adding web-links and images as Thoughts or Attachments

First some prerequisite terms:

active Thought
highlighted Thought

Pasted Image.png
spaces in Thought name are added for clarity

The active Thought is the Thought, that is centered on the Plex.
It has a red rectangle around it referred to as “Active Thought, outline” around it, as well as a red circle referred to as “Focussed Thought, circle”.
The highlighted Thought is the Thought, that at any given time has the highlighter on it. Right now it is yellow.

Pasted Image.png
good colors, aren’t they?

Why is this important?
In Preferences>Keybindings we can set keybindings for a “command”.
Many commands can be used on Thoughts.
However, some commands like “Thought>Delete” or “Thought>Create Child will act on the highlighted Thought wheareas the command “Selection>Link Selection as Parents of” will always work on the active Thought.

Pasted Image.png
and the explanation hint, always refuses to tell you which way it is 😦

If the “highlight circle” isn’t shown, the active Thought is the same as the highlighted Thought.
Since we use the “highlight circle” often, this distinction is very important.

Hint: There is a bit more complexity hidden in the concept of the “active Thought”and there is a reason why it’s not called “Active Thought, circle”, but that matters only for Outline view and will be dealt with in a future blog post.

With that out of the way, we may actually go about doing things.
Today we learn two essential keybindings are “Edit>Paste as New Thought”, which we map to “Ctrl+1” and “Edit>Paste on Item”, which we map to “ctrl+shift+1”.

Edit>Paste as New Thought

Basically this will create a new Thought from the content of your clipboard. If you press ctrl+1 in TheBrain 11, it’ll create a new Child Thought for the currently active Thought.
Always the active Thought, even if there is another highlighted Thought.

TheBrain 11 will try to get the website icon and a sensible Thought name (and possibly a label) from the webpage title.

adding a monitor stand I ordered from Amazon

Edit>Paste on Item

A Thought with the name “Pasted Image” will be created with a png-Attachment, that mirrors your clipboard. The attached image will also be the icon of that Thought. This is often useful, when adding a screensnip as that automatically will load the image into the Windows clipboard.
[insert a screensnip gif of a cute puppy or something]

This is a similar command, it takes an object (an url or an image) from the clipboard and pastes it into TheBrain. Except instead of a new Child Thought it will add it as an Attachment to an already existing Thought, specifically the highlighted Thought.

We can do this for URLs:

adding the order details as an Attachment

And we can also do this for images:

the added image will serve as the icon for my “monitor stand”-Thought

SuperMemo 18: importing a new font

So you know of a font, that you like and wish to see your items in. Say, you really like”Recursive”, because it is so recursive, because it is so recursive, because it is so recu…..
Anyway, you type “recursive” into the search box in Toolkit>Options>Font>Question Font and only find nonsense fonts that starts with @ for some reason.

oh no, what to do?!

However, this lack of recursion in SuperMemo 18 can be remedied with relative ease. Find the desired font on and download the whole family.

Family refers to bold, italic and

Now open Settings (win+i), click on “Personalization”, then “Fonts”. Unzip the downloaded font-family, look for a .tff-file and drag it into the marked area and see it appear in the Windows Font registry.

Now you can select the font in SuperMemo:

Here you can see a how an item looks like in “Fira Sans”, which I have imported in the same manner:

font recommeneded to me by supersrdjan, notice the lovely small ls!

Alas, no blog post on SuperMemo could possibly be complete, without showing off an infuriating bug.
When you press ctrl+a and start typing/overwriting your old text, it’ll fall back on the “Text”-font set in stylesheet.

So if you don’t want your fonts to randomly reset, maybe don’t use seperate “Question” and “Answer”-fonts and use the “Text”-option in Stylesheet for both.


TheBrain 11 keybindings: Thought Creation basics

Today we’ll introduce two more UI elements in TheBrain, but won’t discuss them more than necessary.

The Search box:

start typing on the Plex, and you automatically type into the Search-box

The Thought-Creation-Dialog:

link an existing Thought or create a new one

For the Thought-Creation dialog, we use the following essential commands:

create Child/Parent/Jump-Thoughts

Those are mapped by default to F6/F7/F8 respectively. Nothing much to say here, they work well.

We can change our mind about what kind of Thought-link you want to create/link by pressing another key again.

Very often however, we want to create a new Thought without any connection. Or perhaps we want to create a Thought with no connections to the current Plex and connect it later.
Setting Thought>Create Thought in Keybindings to F5, places it conveniently and is easy to remember.

creating an isolated/Orphan Thought

simply type and then press F5

There is a character limit for how long a Thought can be, it’s very long though. However when creating an isolated Thought, we are limited to the 28 characters of the search box.

I can press “c” as much as I like, it won’t get longer

There are many more ways of creating Thoughts or linking them. We can also easily create or link multiple Thoughts at once. However we shall learn about them in a future post.

What we have learnt today:

F5 create an isolated (or orphan) Thought from the Search box
F6 create a Child Thought
F7 create a Parent Thought
F8 create a Jump Thought

TheBrain 11 keybindings: Selection and Navigation Basics

changed “crosshair” to highlighter, cause that makes more sense

Note: To follow along, you should set the keybindings manually try doing the same things as I’m showing. Here is a tutorial Brain for this, which you may download here.

These are the shorctus I use many dozens of times per day and they form the basis for most other things I do, so I’ll explain them first.

the highlighter:
(officially known as the “Focus Highlight circle”?)

The official name is rather long and awkward.
Also I don’t really consider it to have an official name as “Focus Highlight circle” is merely what the devs call it in the TheBrain-forums.
It is extremely useful, but never mentioned once in the TheBrain 11 User Guide!
It is a thick circle with a dot in the middle, which appears over a Thought, if you press any arrow key. It kinda looks like a crosshair, hence the name.

On second Thought, it kinda doesn’t look like a crosshair at all, so we shall call it highlighter instead.

In the BrainTheme-window, you can make sure, that it’s clearly visible For most default BrainThemes this is not necessary.

The highlighter is your new best friend and we’ll be using it for doing pretty much anything on the Plex fast.

The Selection-box:

Selecting a thought will open the Selection-box. We will use this one a lot, as well.

Note that text color, background and icon on the Plex will also show in the Selection Box

You might wonder why we need a Selection box, when the Selection-frame already neatly shows what’s selected.
That’s because, Thoughts may be selected, even if they aren’t visible in the current Plex (as seen below). Unless we delete or unselect a Thought, they’ll stay in the Selection box.

Now what is all this good for, why do we want to select Thoughts and what do we need a highlighter for?

Selecting a Thought and deleting a whole Selection

We will be using:
arrow keys, to move the highlighter
alt+1, to select a Thought
ctrl+shift+delete, to delete a Selection

In the animation above, you can see me add the Thoughts “delete me 1”, “delete me 2” and “delete me 3” to a Selection.
I show the highlighter, by pressing down-arrow. It’ll immediately show up on “delete me 1”. I press alt+1 to select it. (the command is called “toggle Selection”, because if I did it again, it would unselect a selected Thought)
I press down, alt+1 again for “delete me 2” and then right and alt+1 for “delete me 3”.
Then I press ctrl+shift+delete, to delete the entire Selection at once.
As the selected Thoughts no longer exists, the Selection-box automatically disappears.

Note: The visualization on the bottom left isn’t part of TheBrain 11, but a helpful little AHK-script to show what I’m doing.

quickly unlinking and relinking multiple Thoughts

Now we will learn, how to use highlighter and Selection box, to can quickly move multiple Thoughts from an “inbox”-Thought to a new location.

We will be using a couple more commands for this:
alt+2 unlink Selection (from the active Thought)
alt+3 discard Selection (this saves us from ever having to click the undersized close-button of the Selection box)
ctrl+shift+F6 link Selection as Children
alt+left go backwards

From the “Inbox”-Thought, we move select “cute kitten” and “zesty cat” as we learnt before. Now we press alt+2 to unlink them from the active Thought, because we want to empty our Inbox.
Now we type “cat pictures” and press enter to go to that Thought.
We press shift+F6 to make them Children of the “cat pictures”-Thought.
Our cat pictures are properly filed now and our inbox is less cluttered already.
So therefore, we don’t need to do anything with them for now and thus clear them from our Selection with alt+3.
Now we press alt+left to activate the previous Thought and jump from “cat pictures” back to “Inbox”.
We file “Golden Retriever” and “two dogs” under “dog pictures the same way.

What have we learnt so far:

arrow keyscontrol the highlighter
alt+1select/unselect a Thought
alt+2unlink Selection from the active Thought
alt+3discard Selection
shif+F6link Selection as Children
shif+F7link Selection as Parents
shif+F8link Selection as Jump Thoughts
ctrl+shift+deletedelete Selection
alt+leftbackward (go to previous activated )
okay, some of them I haven’t shown yet, but they are similar enough

TheBrain 11 keybindings: overview

A tutorial series on moving quickly and efficiently in TheBrain 11 to focus on what matters

All posts in the series

Selection and Navigation Basics
Thought Creation basics
adding web-links and images as Thoughts or Attachments
Focus and Splitter Panes
Pins and Homethoughts
more Selection tools

setting keybindings quickly
views and windows

Notes Editor

[insert some other stuff, structure is best guess atm]
helpful AHK scripts

What’s this about:
Customisable keybindings allow you to use TheBrain 11 at very high speeds.
Many extremely useful commands are left unmapped by default, so you have to set them for yourself.
I’ll be showing and explaining all the commands I use, with my preferred bindings, over the coming weeks.
It will take me a while to go thru them all and to properly document them.
Instead of just providing a big table I will show animations showing what they each do, since the purpose of a command often only becomes apparent, if used in conjunction with of other commands chained together.
Because keybindings are quite essential for my personal use of TheBrain 11, this can be considered a general tutorial for using this software, as well.
[it is quite unavoidable, that I’ll have to go into some of the stranger and more baffling mechanics of TheBrain 11]

Where to start:
You may download my keybindings immediately (they are at the end of this post for download), but it might be more sensible to set them manually at first, as you learn one or two new workflows in each post.
It is also go
A couple of the default keybindings I have changed more to my liking, though mostly I have only added to the default bindings, not modified them much.

Each post will deal with a specific category of keybindings, provide a table listing them and show gif-animations so you can quickly see what they do.

At the end of this series, I’ll provide my keybindings for download and provide SuperMemo 18 and Anki-decks for efficient memorization of them all, for anyone so inclined.

how to import keybindings

TheBrain 11 can export its keybindings in text-file named “KeyboardShortcuts.txt”. So if you modify your keybindings a lot, you can export and import them, as you like.
That way, you never have to redo your keybindings on multiple computers or when you reinstall your operating system.

download link for my keybindings

deleting all Timeline-events in TheBrain 11

As of TB 75 you simply click there and do this.

stuff below is outdated nonsense now 🙂

On TheBrain-forums someone had an interesting problem.

How to delete all Timeline events at once (a Google sync calendar being no longer needed apparently). I thought about it for a while and experimented a bit more.

There are three scenarios here, the first one is easy, the second one somewhat involved but doable within a couple of minutes. The third one is very annoying, but I’ll try to optimize it a bit. He didn’t specify in his post, but I think the third one is the most likely solution here.

Scenario 1:
Each event has a Thought associated with it. You don’t need that Thought, anymore.

This is the easiest case.
Simply open the Report-sidebar, specify the time range between 1999 and 2040. (that should likely cover all events, unless you’re a timetraveller who’s been using TheBrain before it was published or have in intimidatingly long time horizon)

Save the Report as “all events” for good measure.

Now right-click onto the hamburger-button and click “add all to Selection”. Now shift+right+click in Selection and click “Delete [number of] Thoughts”.

Scenario 2:
You still need those Thoughts and just want to remove all the Events.

Create an Orphan Thought (call it “Temp”), activate it, right click on the Selection box and “Link Selection as Children of ‘Temp'”.
Bring up the “all events”-Report from Scenario 1.

Make sure that you show Attachments in Tabs (cause I didn’t test it in List-view) and that “Preferences>Behavior>Content>Upate displayed content…..” is set.

Put it to Outline-view and find some kind of zoom setting that minimizes the lag that comes up with having hundreds of Thoughts shown all at once. Usually zooming out helps, so that the abbreviation dots are no longer visible. This step might be more difficult with lower res monitors. TheBrain performance issues are kinda weird.*

Now in an ideal world, you could go to Preferences>Keybinding now, set Attachment>Delete (in this example I set it to shift+delete).
And you would simply go thru each Thought one by one and press shift+delete on the Event-Attachment. However this will just crash TheBrain 11 (see video, at least in version 60):
Already reported that bug though.

It’s not that bad though, since you can position the cursor over the trash-can symbol, click it, press ctrl+s, down-arrow click again (however many hundred times you need to get rid off all events). Here’s a video:

This process is optimistically assuming that you don’t have any Notes in each Thought. That’s rather unrealistic. The problem is, that if you do, you’d have to click ctrl+q to navigate to the Events-tab. And you’d always have to check otherwise you risk deleting a different Attachment (when you’re inevitably not paying attention, because you’re terribly bored).
This will make it difficult to get into any kind of rhythm for doing this hundreds of times over.

Scenario 2*:
Some Thoughts have Notes, some don’t.

Start with “all events” already added to Selection.
Create a new Report, filter Thoughts by Attachments, set Type to “with Notes”.
I saved this Report and named it “Thoughts with Notes”.
Now click on the hamburger-menu and click “Remove from Selection”.
Now do all the further steps of scenario 2. Each Thought will now show the Event immediately and you can do this whilst listening to music.
You have now removed all Events from Thoughts without Notes.
Logically this only leaves all the Thoughts with Events, who do have Notes.
So simply open up the Report “all events” again, add them as Children to a Temp-Thought and now same things again, except with a slightly changed rhythm.
Instead of left-click (on trashcan), down-arrow, it’s just going to be:
ctrl+q, left-click, down-arrow

That’s it. Your life is now uneventful. Congratulations!

but wait…… there’s another scenario….. it’s a terrible one….. you’re so doomed…..

scenario 3:
all Events are detached in the Timeline without a corresponding Thought

Yeah, that’s kinda bad. You can’t put detached Events into a Selection, nor can you search for them in Reports.
Only options that are left involve a lot of clickety druggery.
If I were in that desperate situation, I’d set up the Keybinding “Timeline>Event” to “ctrl+delete”, and set something for “Timeline>Right”. The trouble is that whenever you move the Timeline via keybinding (or via the equivalent little right-arrow icon) it gives you an “exciting” animation instead of just showing you what you want.
I’d probably create some kind of ahk-script to carpet bomb the whole timeline with delete from left to right, make it press “Timeline>right” and let it run for each day.

*weird zoom stuff, naively you’d expect that a zoomed-out view would perform worse, since it shows more things, but….. it’s more complicated than that apparently:

OneDrive SuperMemo sync

[epistemic status: this works fine, it’s rough around the edges though.]

You want to work on SuperMemo on two different windows machines. Like one desktop and one Laptop. Instructions are for Windows 10 and SuperMemo 18
(but should only differ in minor details for other versions)


on both machines have OneDrive installed (and ensure you’re logged in with your Windows account)
have SM18 installed on both machines
use the default SM directories and OneDrive directories
(or make appropriate changes to my instructions)
have “files on demand” disabled (cause that feature is just a super stupid headache)


Create a folder called “symbolic links” in the root-directory of OneDrive.
press Windows>type “terminal”>click run as administrator
there execute:
cd C:/user/OneDrive/symbolic links/

Then type:

mklink /D “C:/users/[your username]/OneDrive/symbolic links/SM_backup_machine1” “C:/SuperMemo/systems”

Do the same on the other machine, but name the folder “SM_backup_machine2”.

“Sm_backup_machine1” is always having the exact same content as “C:/SuperMemo/systems” on machine1. On machine 2 it’ll be just another folder. And vice versa.

When you worked on machine 1 last and want to work on machine 2, simply delete the content of “C:/users/[your username]/OneDrive/symbolic links/SM_backup_machine2” and paste into it the contents of “…./Sm_backup_machine1”. Now start SuperMemo.
Same thing in the opposite case.

Process could certainly be automated for comfort with some clever start-up scripts.
Also prone to user error if you forget what your last worked on machine was, if you didn’t have internet when you finished working on that machine, if you interrupted your upload, if you restored your whole system from a backup (that’s a whole ‘nother blog post) etc.
You can move the sys-link folder around or even rename it without breaking the link. Not sure if the link is still maintained if you move or rename the machine2-folder on machine1.
Haven’t tried that.

Also might not be efficient with very large collections. Sorry Luke 🙂

source (and more on symbolic links):

If I made a mistake or you’ve got something to improve this, let me know into the comments (TODO: figure out, if this blog supports comments).