THINK

You see, 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 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 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.
— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “A Study in Scarlet”

2 thoughts on “THINK

  1. Loved this thought when I read it as a child, but I always thought Sherlock was wrong on this point, the mind is elastic, the world changes and furniture needs to be refurbished or discarded, then too, Sherlock did not anticipate the cloud which would make our access to information infinite.

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    • I agree about the elasticity of the mind. What was not said by Doyle (he used the same analogy in another writing he did before Holmes made him famous) I think what happens is the thoughts get pushed aside until something triggers a memory of them at a later date; sometimes years down the road.

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