Mind is Like an Attic

Any Sherlock Holmes fans out there?

He was a bit of an oddball, yes, but some of the quirks have things worth thinking about.

“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 skillful 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)

The basic principle of being careful about with what we fill up our minds is valid. Do you know the ins and outs of the latest popular TV series, but have trouble remembering the story of Ruth? Have you tried out every hobby known to woman, but Scripture memorization would just be too much time and effort?

Our brains are limited (more some days than others, am I right?), and that makes every thing we learn or remember valuable. The key is whether the value of the mind-space matches the value of what we stocked in it.

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