It is probably a matter of personal preferences or thinking style, but I always have problems with tree structures. […] Another example is about mind-mapping tools […] Those that I tried force me to organise my ideas into a tree structure. Of course, visualisation is nice to get an overview of ideas (especially if you use it for others), but forced tree structure makes these maps useless for (my) thinking. I tried to use mind-mapping software to structure my ideas for writing papers, but it didn’t work. It’s fine on paper for drawing a web of relations and thinking about steps of explaining them, but drawing a tree on my screen doesn’t make any sense […] for me ideas live as webs. […]
Reading this I was struck by the simile with map projections – just as rendering a 3D world onto a 2D map causes distortions, rendering an interconnected web of ideas into a two dimensional tree (e.g. a mind map or an outline) will focus on a different aspect of what is being mapped.
How does our choice of view for information affect the interpretation we place on that information?