“…selective forgetting of the useless is as important as selective remembering of the useful. And much of this winnowing takes place during sleep, as two papers in this week’s Nature Neuroscience observe… the process of sleep acts as a form of triage–first choosing what to retain, and then selecting how it will be retained”–The Economist
“We, as human beings, are landed with memory systems that have fallibilities, frailties, and imperfections—but also great flexibility and creativity. Confusion over sources or indifference to them can be a paradoxical strength: if we could tag the sources of all our knowledge, we would be overwhelmed with often irrelevant information.
Indifference to source allows us to assimilate what we read, what we are told, what others say and think and write and paint, as intensely and richly as if they were primary experiences. It allows us to see and hear with other eyes and ears, to enter into other minds, to assimilate the art and science and religion of the whole culture, to enter into and contribute to the common mind, the general commonwealth of knowledge. This sort of sharing and participation, this communion, would not be possible if all our knowledge, our memories, were tagged and identified, seen as private, exclusively ours. Memory is dialogic and arises not only from direct experience but from the intercourse of many minds”–Oliver Sacks
“It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information”—Oscar Wilde
“There is no way I’m going to let these simian creatures defeat me. While they’re sleeping, I’m processing countless terabytes of useless information”—IBM’s Watson (Jeopardy Champion)
See also We are What We Remeber