Zettelkasten

Breadcrumbs in Your Archive

Here’s today’s fun story.


Sascha asks me if I remember the connection between an author (Heinrich von Kleist) and a concept (Maieutics). I hesitate a bit but then agree: yes, it’s his concept. The association feels just so familiar.

I look up the concept in my archive, searching for “midwifery” (“Hebammenkunst” is the German term Sascha suggested). I indeed stumble upon a note about a text by Heinrich von Kleist about the spontaneous and sequential creation of thoughts during conversation.

The note is from 2012. It’s not about the technique of midwifery at all. It’s more closely related to the topic of social systems.

Then I find the actual term I was looking for.

It’s at the very bottom, separated from the rest of the note by a series of dashes. It’s in an aside, if you will.

There I find the following line, probably added in 20141:

Sascha did look for this in association with the labels “midwifery”/maieutics.


Turns out Sascha and I embarked on this exact same search for Heinrich von Kleist’s concept about 5 years ago already. Why did I add this? Maybe last time we didn’t recall the author immediately and it felt safer to add this as a tag of sorts.

Even though we did recall the author this time, I’m glad I left the breadcrumb behind. The practice seems to produce surprises indeed :)

  1. I infer this from the file modification date (2014-01-15). Could’ve been anytime between 2012 and 2014, though. For later reference, I now added a timestamp to the note to preserve this guess – like I usually do nowadays when I add virtual post-it notes to my Zettel.