Poor memory makes room for creativity?

Memory is the Enemy of Creativity

Scott’s blog entry sort of speaks to me. I have often thought that if I had been born with a better memory for details I would be a lot less creative. Because I have such a crappy memory I wind up somewhat randomly rearranging what I ‘know’ from time to time and occasionally that results in some idea I think is novel (most of the time it isn’t), I do some research and sometimes (rarely, but probably once every year or two) my idea appears to be novel, useful and practical (an example: my DNA sequencing chip idea). Of course, taking concept and turning it into reality is generally a long labor intensive (and usually capital intensive!) process that requires dealing with emotional ups and downs, something I have yet to achieve (except for our house construction, though really that didn’t require any ‘forgetfulness’, though I believe starting on our current greenhouse/pool project did require us to forget a lot about how much we often hated the process). I believe (clearly biased, though) that perfect recall allows you to perfectly recall all the reasons why something won’t work, so you never attempt (or even consider) doing something that has been judged impossible. Since anything deemed ‘impossible’ should really be labeled as ‘no path forward yet proven’, really in my mind there is no such thing as ‘impossible’. ‘Impractical’ has certainly reared its ugly head many, many times, though. Often what is ‘impossible’ just needs reinterpretation on what is actually being sought. Something I have been thinking about lately is directly related to the speed-of-light ‘barrier’. For our fleeting 75 year life span exploring the galaxy requires faster-than-light (FTL) travel. However, if suddenly your lifespan becomes a million years, poking along at the reasonably easily attainable 1% of the speed of light (about 7.7 million miles an hour) nearly the entire galaxy becomes accessible. You get to spend a long, long time in between stars, but we are learning more and more that there is some interesting stuff out in between (that is incredibly difficult to observe so deep in the sun’s influence). So, perhaps solving one ‘impossible’ problem (FTL) could be done via an entirely different approach (longevity). Of course, my crappy memory might be making this ‘solution’ more feasible than it is in reality, but that is the nature of my brain. Like Scott points out in his blog, it isn’t something I can turn off, it just happens. It is how I relax; indeed, I am more ‘creative’ when I relax.

On the other, other hand, because I have such a poor memory for details (I often must write something down for even as little as a minute because I will forget and have to recheck it; very tedious!) I would really love to have some capacity for perfect recall so I could store some stuff (like phone number! My wife can attest how annoying it is to have someone who can’t remember a phone number long enough to dial it!), but I don’t want to lose my ability to reshuffle what I ‘know’, so it needs to be something I can control. When we finally get to having direct brain connections to computers I will be one of the first in line!

Author: Tfoui

He who spews forth data that could be construed as information...