A green-skinned humanoid with 10 arms and a tree sprouting out of its open heads holds 10 objects: paintbrush, magnifying glass, book, stopwatch, smoking herbs, broom, smartphone, mortar

Rabbit Hole

Go down the rabbit hole (embrace serendipity)

You have to embrace the accidental.

The 5-Step Research Method I Used For Tim Ferriss, Robert Greene, and Tucker Max | by Ryan Holiday | Thrive Global | Medium

“Down the rabbit hole” is an English-language idiom or trope which refers to getting deep into something, or ending up somewhere strange.

Down the rabbit hole – Wikipedia

Directly, these books had nothing to do with what I was writing about, but because my mind was primed to see connections, I found them in the most unusual places.

I can’t tell you how many leads I’ve tracked down from random Wikipedia citations. Explore what you’re curious about and know, and let it lead you to what you don’t.

One of my rules as a reader is to read one book mentioned in or cited in every book that I read. It not only solves the problem of ‘what to read next’ but it sends you on a journey down the rabbit hole.

The 5-Step Research Method I Used For Tim Ferriss, Robert Greene, and Tucker Max | by Ryan Holiday | Thrive Global | Medium

This means marking everything you think is interesting, transcribing it and organizing it. As a researcher, you’re as rich as your database. Not only in being able to pull something out at a moment’s notice, but that that something gives you a starting point with which to make powerful connections. As cards about the same theme begin to accumulate, you’ll know you’re onto a big or important idea.

The 5-Step Research Method I Used For Tim Ferriss, Robert Greene, and Tucker Max | by Ryan Holiday | Thrive Global | Medium

The solution We have concluded that random walks of knowledge-gathering keep us from getting things done day-to-day but can also be catalysts for amazing work. Falling down the rabbit hole seems to be an activity best done in moderation. How can you use it to your advantage without letting it damage you?

Rabbit holes: Why being smart hurts your productivity : Sridatta Thatipamala

The wiki rabbit hole is the learning pathway which a reader travels by navigating from topic to topic while browsing Wikipedia and other wikis. Other names for the concept include wiki black hole[1] and wikihole.[2] The metaphor of a hole comes from Lewis Carroll‘s 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, in which Alice begins an adventure by following the White Rabbit into his burrow.

When watching videos outside of Wikipedia, many people go to Wikipedia to get more information about what they watched and proceed into the wiki rabbit hole to topics progressively further removed from where they started.[3] Films based on historical people or events often initiate viewers to explore Wikipedia rabbit holes.[4]

Data visualizations showing the relationships between Wikipedia articles demonstrate pathways that readers can take to navigate from topic to topic.[5]

The Wikimedia Foundation publishes research on how readers enter rabbit holes.[6] Rabbit hole browsing behavior happens in various languages of Wikipedias.[7]

Wikipedia users have shared their rabbit hole experiences as part of Wikipedia celebrations as well as on social media.[8][9] Some people go to Wikipedia for the fun of seeking a rabbit hole.[10][11] Exploring the rabbit hole can be part of wikiracing.[12]

Wiki rabbit hole – Wikipedia
Illustration of a wiki rabbit hole with a network diagram of topics connected by arrows
Glenn Newcomer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Be wary of the holes you rabbit. Stimpunks.org rabbit holes take you inclusively and compassionately “behind the curtain” of the edges.

What we are witnessing is the computational exploitation of a natural human desire: to look “behind the curtain,” to dig deeper into something that engages us. As we click and click, we are carried along by the exciting sensation of uncovering more secrets and deeper truths. YouTube leads viewers down a rabbit hole of extremism, while Google racks up the ad sales.

Opinion | YouTube, the Great Radicalizer – The New York Times

Remember what the Dormouse said

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall
And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
He called Alice
When she was just small
When the men on the chessboard
Get up and tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving low
Go ask Alice
I think she'll know
When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's off with her head
Remember what the Dormouse said
Feed your head
Feed your head

“I identified with Alice. I was a product of ’50s America in Palo Alto, California, where women were housewives with short hair and everything was highly regulated. I went from the planned, bland ’50s to the world of being in a rock band without looking back. It was my Alice moment, heading down the hole. ‘White Rabbit’ seemed like an appropriate title.”

How Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick Wrote ‘White Rabbit’ – WSJ

One day we took acid and I put on Miles Davis’s “Sketches of Spain.” 

I loved that album and I listened to it over and over for hours, particularly “Concierto de Aranjuez,” which takes up most of the first side. It’s hypnotic. I’ve always been like this. Anything I love I’m going to cram into my ears, nose and mouth until I use it up. “Sketches of Spain” was drilled into my head and came squirting out in various ways as I wrote “White Rabbit.”

How Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick Wrote ‘White Rabbit’ – WSJ

Feed your head

Learning how to learn on his own proved one of the most important lessons of his life.

What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry
A green-skinned humanoid with 10 arms and a tree sprouting out of its open heads holds 10 objects: paintbrush, magnifying glass, book, stopwatch, smoking herbs, broom, smartphone, mortar

The reality is that if it exists, you can reasonably assume there will be an autistic person to whom that thing is the subject of intense obsession and time spent, from blankets to drain covers (both of these are special interests of people in my acquaintance) and pretty much anything in between. When engaging in a special interest, autistic people are typically calmer, more relaxed, happier and more focused than they would otherwise be – for many, it is a form of release or even self-medication: a well-timed foray into a special interest can stave off meltdown and be a generally extremely positive force in an autistic person’s life.

Learning From Autistic Teachers (pp. 30-31)

But one thing is particularly important to my purposes here: our hyperfixations adore company, and if an autistic person is given the opportunity to share their passion for the subject with friends, relatives or complete strangers, then you can expect high levels of enthusiasm, enormous amounts of data and information to be delivered, and impressive levels of knowledge. In short, if you want to be taught something, you can do a lot worse than be taught about it by an autistic person for whom it is one of their special interests. I have been taught about various subjects by openly autistic people and the experience has invariably been truly fantastic, and my understanding of the topic afterwards deep and thorough.

Learning From Autistic Teachers (pp. 30-31)

In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Further reading,