During a conversation the other day (though I can’t remember who with, which will seem more poignant as this post mithers on), I started to think about all of the superfluous information that’s stored in my brain. I remember facts and figures, phone numbers, post codes, dates, even the registration numbers of cars that myself and my family have owned. The majority of this data is totally surplus to requirement, so wouldn’t it be great if we could do what we do with our hard drives, have a spring clean, delete the data we no longer need and free up some space for other stuff.
In 2009, I started a Psychology degree and one thing that struck me was that I struggled to retain information a lot more than when I was at school. I know that this is the curse of the Adult Learner, in fact, according to John Massari from Duke University “… concepts of synaptic plasticity can be applied to improving the way we learn early in life. If certain kinds of activities are not learned during critical periods, it may difficult or even impossible to learn them later.”. In fact, he postulates that our brains change at around the age of 13. But it did all make me wonder if deleting my Nan’s postcode and the name of every teacher I’ve ever had would make space for data that’s more relevant to me now.
I’d love to be able to hook my brain up to a PC, trawl through my memory banks and delete all of the crap that I no longer need. A bit ‘Inception’-inspired, I suppose.
But then, this got me thinking too. What if I deleted the wrong data? I don’t mean like clicking format on the section that contains my name and address, I mean deleting the data that we, in our current lives, deem to be unnecessary, only to discover that a minute event or occurrence is an intrinsic part of what makes us who we are. I could get rid of the name of my pen pal who I met in Hastings in 1992, only to realise that meeting her set me on a particular path.
So, I guess my question is this; what would you do? If you had the option to look at every individual file in your brain and delete the ones you no longer want or think you need, would you do it?
Just a bit of food for your already over-stuffed brain on this rainy Saturday morning!