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Creativity comes from knowledge atomisation

Break down ideas, to build them back up in new ways

When you read something, how do you summarise it?

Do you try to preserve the structure of the original and record everything that you learn into that structure? Or do you take tidbits and record them in isolation?

I used to record in the structure provided in the book. That’s a fantastic choice and it’s crucial to do when you’re a novice. When you’re a novice you don’t have a pre-existing structure in your mind to attach the tidbits to, so you need to borrow a stricture from someone else.

But over time, you should move away from borrowed strictures. Because borrowed structures inhibit transfer. 

When we process and store a whole heap of ideas in a predefined structure, we bind them to that structure and that makes it harder for us to use them in new and creative ways. 

When we instead store tidbits into our own structure, we take a treasure of an idea and we make it whole on its own.  We atomise it. And atoms of ideas are transferable. 

Atoms are some of the smallest building blocks of our universe. Atomised ideas are similarly the building blocks if new knowledge and creativity.