I have overdosed on knowledge nuggets. I’ve gorged on a continuous happy meal of medical journals and lectures combined with side order of a dozen podcasts. These are chock-full of erudite and educational tid-bits. Like a greedy child who keeps eating cookies simply because they are there, I feel crapulous. Worse, my mind has gone on strike; it refuses to incorporate any more insights. I wish to think my mind is a giant black hole of endless educational needs when in fact it is more like a small attic. If I want to put something new into it, I need to toss something out.  The total capacity of cortex seems to be limited to a few dozen facts. I have to choose wisely which ones to retain and which ones fall out through my ears. While it would be jolly to recite from memory the moons of Jupiter it means forgetting my work address.

Having a headful of facts used to be talent much appreciated and admired, but no one bothers with this sort of thing anymore. If someone wants to know the years reign of Mary I of England* they reach for their phone. People ask Siri, not Urs Truly. It’s an example of being replaced by a machine.

I remember my junior high school teacher scolding us kids to know how to multiple two three-digit numbers as the new-fangled calculators won’t always be available. This ominous warning turned out to be completely wrong. I can’t remember last when cellphones were not available and somebody desperately needed to know all the presidents and I saved the day with my brilliant recall of such.

All the same, a lifelong habit of squirreling away facts and trivia is a tough nut to break. I will continue to cram as much as I can into my cranium, not for the sake or entertainment of others but for myself.

There is a quiet smug satisfaction knowing I can recite A.A. Milne’s “Disobedience” out loud if called upon to do so.

full-brain

 

*1553-1558.

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