in order to explain my setup, i need to present a simple yet very interesting framework.
this framework is part of integral theory, a fascinating “meta-theory” created by ken wilber. its goal is to represent reality in all its forms – or dimensions.
it is composed by 4 quadrants, combining the internal, external, individual and collective dimensions.
it’s easier to understand it by visualizing it.
take a look and see if it makes sense to you.
basically, what it means is that everything you experience in your reality belongs to one (or more) of these dimensions.
since we’re talking about building a second brain (or a second mind), using this framework as a foundation, we can think about what this really means. what is a second brain?
to answer that, first we need to answer: what is your mind?
first, you have your brain. this one, inside your head. that’s your physical reality, i.e. external, individual.
secnd, you have your “mind”, the set of thoughts, feelings, memories, beliefs, that you call “you”. that’s the internal, individual quadrant.
this is a simple distinction but many people end up never thinking about it. moving onto the next quadrants…
in the internal, collective quadrant, you can think about the elements you share with other minds. language, beliefs, history and other elments that build a “colective mind”, involving you and some group.
this is where lies the spectrum of all of society’s history and culture.
and finally, in the external/collective quadrant, we have the many material elements that result from nature and human creation. the environment, the tools, the systems. that which exists around you.
this is where science and technology exist and develop.
very cool, isn’t it?
now, what tiago has been calling a “second brain” is exactly that. a second brain that exists in that same reality.
a personal knowledge management system is a system that does something – knowledge management – better than your brain is capable of. so you’re basically outsourcing a function of your brain. this allows you to dedicate more of your energy on other brain activities – creativity, problem-solving, self-awareness – instead of trying to remember what’s the name of that cool app you read about.
but as we saw, we live in more than one reality at all times. what are some other brains that might exist then?
i.e. knowledge -> decision -> action -> learning.
i won’t dive deep into any of these other processes because they’re not the focus right now. i just wanted to present these so we could understand how awesome the P.A.R.A. method is and why it’s so important to set up an optimized personal knowledge management system.
if you don’t optimize your knowledge management, none of the other systems will work well. if you do, on the other hand, these other systems will naturally work to your advantage.
this is a high-level snapshot of my notion setup.
here’s how i use P.A.R.A. (projects, areas, resources, archives).
i use a few other concepts i borrowed from gtd and from my own thinking, but P.A.R.A. is still there.
notion can be simple yet very powerful. we could dive into how i create my pages, databases, and stuff like that. but i don’t think that’s where the gold is.
the most important lesson i learned by applying this big picture thinking into notion is this:
following a process like BASB will give you an amazing knowledge management system.
but the main benefit is not the system itself. it’s how much you can learn about yourself, your own thinking and how to build something that amplifies your agency in the world.
it’s not about spending lots of hours creating the “perfect setup”. it’s about learning the principles that will make you the professional of the future.