mind mapping
'When parties in a state are violent, he offered a wonderful contrivance to reconcile them. The method is this. You take an hundred leaders of each party; you dispose them into couples whose heads are nearest of a size; then let two nice operators saw off the occiput of each couple at the same time, in such a manner that the brain may be equally divided. Let the occiputs thus cut off be interchanged, ......for he argued thus; that the two half brains being left to debate the matter between themselves within the sphere of one scull, would soon come to a good understanding.....'
A voyage to Laputa

As Gulliver found out maps made by others do not always tell you everything. They are second hand. Whenever I am gathering facts, analyzing or just trying for breakthroughs, doodling helps. The 'mind mapping' technique is a stylized form of doodling (Tony Buzan, Use your mind, The Mind Map Book, BBC Books). It is a way to make second-hand knowledge first hand. Whenever someone has bought a second-hand car he takes it home, washes it (better than any car before) and calls it a 'new car'. Well, in mind mapping you do exactly that, you take in information, order it and process it to your own way of thinking. These notes have a very personal character. Strangely enough school has 'untaught' us this way of note-taking and prescribed conformity: notes are made from top to bottom, from left to right. They are written and should be neat. A real pity, because in that way we make only use of one brain half. So Buzan shows how a more efficient and effective use of your own brain can be made. The different points are paired with a symbol to facilitate recall.
1 Make use colours (memory aid: 1 is a brush).
2 Make use of pictures whenever possible ( 2 is a swan).
3 Connect everything by lines and write on the lines (3 on its side is a camel).
4 Use a large white sheet (4 : sail of a ship). The mind is endless so why start small?)
5 Start in the middle, you can then move in all directions and add later ( 5 is hook ). 6 Make use of large and small pictures (6: trunk of an elephant).
7 Clearly mark different parts when you are finished (7: flag).
8 Keep it simple and summarize first sketches on new maps (8 snowman).
9 Improve on what you have done and revise; flexibility (9 is a modern tennis racket).
10 Regard it as a game ( 10 is a golf club and ball).

[Go to Lilliput start] Go to Brobdingnag start page] [Go to Laputa start] [Go to Houyhhnhm start] [Go to Creative Self start]
It will be obvious that this way of note-taking is not monotonous, provides an overview, facilitates recall and is fun. Whole books can be mapped and revision will be easy and fast. Like the photo album it brings back memories of years ago.
In this way an appeal is made to the imagination, I have to think about pictures and because I have thought about them they will come back easily, especially on the longer term. This is called 'return on investment'. The overview offers more opportunity for association and new insights.

Now I hear some readers sigh and think 'very nice but I cannot draw'. Well we can all draw, perhaps not well but this is not for an exhibition. You are not doing this for someone else. Somewhere in life they may have given you the idea that you couldn't draw, however, that was someone else's opinion. You are not dependent on other peoples thinking, creative awareness means creating independence. So you can also do it like this:
Again the start is in the middle, numbers are given later, branches show the different aspects and these can again be branched out and if the sheet is full, a new one can be started. Quite some progress to traditional monotonous note-taking. This may all seem very childish, and perhaps it is. But don't forget that when we were children we have learned a lot and it seemed a lot of fun. Mindmapping is a manner of letting things happen, your eye is caught by similarities and new associations. It is all out in front of you.
Creativity >> waking up the child’s sense of wonder
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