A long time ago, I learned that Einstein thought of the brain like a bucket filling up with water. When you’re young, that bucket gets filled up and you’re able to retain most of everything you experience. As you age, the bucket is full and when you gather up drops of water, the same amount of water spills out – meaning you’re just going to lose that knowledge. To add to the unfairness of this concept, the quality of the knowledge is not reciprocal. So, if you take in the information that when your oldest son farts that your middle son will get seriously upset and a fist fight will ensue, you have the same chance of losing a similar useless bit of knowledge as you do losing what you learned about the scientific evaluation for the nature of quasars (everyday stuff, right?).
It was said that Einstein didn’t waste his time remembering useless bits of information, for fear that he’d forget or “lose” something really important – for example, he refused to learn his home address.
Now I don’t know if all of this is true, but ever since I learned this I’ve lived by this idea. I don’t know why I remember some of the things I do, and other things just completely escape me. Instead of feeling completely idiotic when I don’t know something I probably should, or when I forget something – I like to tell myself that it’s just a useless bit of information that I can’t crowd my brain with. I have to save space for stuff like the meaning of life and the day and time of my son’s class play. Oh, and also quasars.