Becoming Lindsay Lohan

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I haven't blogged much this past month because nearly every free moment of my time has been spent in some sort of dental continuing education class, acquiring knowledge and binders (retaining more binders than knowledge).  Some of these classes captivated me and left me on the edge of my seat wondering and wanting more.  But most of them left me bored and wondering "when's lunch?"

It was during one of these latter classes that my thoughts began to wander.  The discussion was on muscle memory and the mechanisms by which neural pathways are encoded into, um...I mean how they're....that is to say...hey...I wonder when lunch is?  Anyway, a thought popped into my head: Muscles don't have brains, so how can they have memories?  Hmmmm.  I began to argue with myself:

Many things have memories but don't have brains.  

Oh, yeah?  Like what?

Like computers.  

But computers have hard drives, which are like brains as far as storage goes.

Not all computers have hard drive storage.


Workstations don't have local storage.  It's all stored on a central server.

That's when it hit me.  Muscles are like workstations while the brain is like the server.  So, I reasoned, the muscle memory must be stored in the brain.  Or something like that.  This led me to the next logical thought: My server hard drive is almost full and I will need to upgrade to a bigger one soon.  Will my brain/server ever get full?


Here are the facts: 1) the human brain is a finite thing, 2) finite things have capacity limits, 3) we cannot add another brain to provide storage.  We are stuck with what we have.  So, returning to my computer server analogy, what do I do when my server is getting full and I am unable to add secondary storage?  Obviously I start deleting things.  Unnecessary things.  Things I haven't used in awhile.

Then,a terrifying thought popped into my head: Is this how my own brain works?  As I learn more and more things and acquire more and more knowledge, will my brain fill up to the point that I need to start deleting other knowledge and memories to make room for the new ones?  When I start purging stuff from my hard drive, I look at each folder and see if it's important now, if I expect it to be important in the future, or if it's disposable.

I don't think that my brain works like that because if it did, I would be reminded of all sorts of old things every time I learned something new.  I would, say, find out that the capital of Crapistan is called Trenton, and my brain would shuffle through all sorts of old memories to see which ones should be discarded to make room for this new tidbit.  You'd think I would be reminded of all these old things as my psyche looked for room on the cranial drive.  All sorts of useless things should pop into my head as they are evaluated and sorted before being discarded.  My second grade teacher looked like Mary Tyler Moore but with really bad hair.  I once ate a blue hot dog.  Papa Smurf creeps me out.  Shredded Wheat cereal reminds me of Wilford Brimley's mustache.

But, no, nothing like that ever happens.  Which leads me to believe that the brain is not like a network administrator, carefully evaluating space needs and judiciously deciding what can be deleted.  It's probably more like a lazy teenager who, when asked to put his clothes away, throws open his bedroom door and flings the clothes where ever he can, paying no heed to where they land or to what they cover up.

That notion terrifies me.  If I am correct, it means that it is possible to learn so much that your brain runs out of space and you start to lose vital knowledge and actually become more stupid as you learn new things.  Could that possibly mean  that Miss South Carolina is really super smart, but that she learned so much that her brain filled up?  I am not taking any chances.  No more new knowledge for me.

1 Comment

You're on the right track in thinking of your brain as a PC. However, instead of discarding old info as new info is acquired, your brain only keeps the first zillion things it encounters on its "hard drive". Everything after that is stored in "temporary folders" which are rapidly erased as new info is presented.

That's why I know, word for word, lyrics to songs I haven't heard for 40 years, or Bobby Berkowitz's home phone number--I haven't called Bobby for 30 years...he moved out of my hometown in 1980. I remember nearly everything up to about the age of 20. After that things get a bit sketchy...and as for what I did yesterday...I have absolutely no idea.

So the practice managment course I took last Thursday, remained in a temporary folder---providing me with some cool ideas about how to run my front office---until, 2 days later, my wife showed me a bunch of blue-prints for a kitchen design she is interested in having built. Then....poof...the practice stuff was all gone.

Bobby's number? (607) 432-6919.

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This page contains a single entry by Louis Core published on May 25, 2010 2:54 PM.

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