In computer jargon a "memory leak" happens when a program reserves storage space for temporary use and never releases it. If this happens often enough then eventually the machine runs out of free memory and has to be restarted. Maybe part of human aging — and eventually, not thinking so well — is related to this sort of thing? If only it were easier to forget! ... which reminds me of a comment from Chapter 2 of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet, wherein Sherlock Holmes explains his ignorance of common knowledge to Dr. Watson:
"You see," he explained, "I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones."
How useful is that quote for me to remember?
^z - 2011-03-03