“The Economics of Forgetting”

September 14, 2006

 

I wonder

How do we deal with complexity?

Does additional knowledge increase complexity or does it help us to “reduce” it, i.e. better cope with it?

How do we define relevant and irrelevant knowledge?

Is irrelevant knowledge always of negative value?

Do we need to learn to forget irrelevant knowledge?

Do we need to learn to forget relevant knowledge for a whole Sunday afternoon, for example?

How can selective forgetting lead to substantial improvements in our performance?

Can random forgetting do so as well?

How much time do we lose due to forgetting?

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8 Responses to ““The Economics of Forgetting””

  1. derekcx Says:

    1. Christina, these are too many questions. I will tell a little story. I am a member of a loose coalition that has bordered on coagulation into a community. We have been “together” for 2.5 years.

    We are now working on a project, needing fragments of our thinking going back to a dozen meetings from coffee bar trystes to formal two day workshops.

    I have dozens of snippets and scribbles. Some I have lost. Some I have typed up and formally posted. Some stuff I disregarded have proved to be gems. Oh the loss and the wasted time!! Some of the typed stuff is just mere wind. Who knows what is of value in the future?

    2. Forget for a Sunday afternoon. Yes. I am a fan of the GTD line of thinking. “Have a reliable receptacle for things on your agenda to you don’t have to worry about things”

    3. Can the idea od focus shed some light on your questions?

  2. btrayner Says:

    How much time do we lose due to forgetting?

    Too much in my case!!

  3. upreuss Says:

    How do we define relevant and irrelevant knowledge?

    To my mind irrelevant knowledge doesn’t exist. Whether knowledge is relevant or irrelevant is only a question of context like time and place.

    If irrelevant knowledge exist, then we are full of it and that’s not a really nice idea.

  4. btrayner Says:

    I agree, you can’t define it. Relevant (or irrelevant) to whom and in what context?

  5. Barb Says:

    I wondered about the term irrelevant knowledge, too. I’ve always considered all information context for something. My husband talks to me about programming and computer network stuff all the time. At the point when I’m listening (or trying to), it seems irrelevant, but later, it nearly always is useful either explicitly or as context to understand something else.


  6. […] I’ve been interested with a small comment by upreuss How do we define relevant and irrelevant knowledge? To my mind irrelevant knowledge doesn’t exist. Whether knowledge is relevant or irrelevant is only a question of context like time and place. […]

  7. derekcx Says:

    I think there are some side issues here. I’ve had some help undertanding one of my boys, and the figure of seven things the mind can supposedly hold (consiously) was bandied about, and using tags to recall things. There is the question of overload.
    It may be that too much clutter can be a problem. But in actual fact I’m not sure that we suffer from overload so much as other things: lack of focus for example. Trying to concentrate on a meeting is we are aware it is late for picking up a friend. It probably is possible to be so preoccupied with lots of stuff that is not immediately relevant that we miss what is. And how are pople involved in this process??

  8. barb Says:

    Here’s a wikipedia article on The Magical Number 7 +/-2.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magical_Number_Seven,_Plus_or_Minus_Two

    There’s a related article on chunking.


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