Thinking River #1

The best privilege that money gets you is the privilege to “specialize” or how to choose what direction your identity will mold into. This privilege usually takes the form of specializing your studies. You can forget the “useless” information you pick up and focus on what you need to become the person you want: there are entire university programs based on this idea.

Sherlock Holmes, in his first novel: A Study in Scarlet, stated that there was some “common” information about the earth that he would intentionally forget so that he could focus on the things that mattered to him: how to be a brilliant detective and master of deduction. He would forget things like astronomy, or cosmology, in order to “save memory space” for more pressing concerns.

The psychology and neurology is a bit spotty and probably inaccurate, but if we take this idea and apply it to something more concrete than “memory space,” like time spent studying, than it’s a very applicable philosophy. With financial security, education, and the safety with privilege, it is easier to apply your time and efforts as you want them. Forget things like addresses of “ex-drug pushers” or the street smarts you learned from Middle School (I had a crappy middle school experience). Forget the name of roads where particular crimes happened, the buildings to avoid during the winter for criminal reasons, etc. Forget what you learned about entomology, how computers work, whatever. If it’s not relevant to you, you can forget it! Spend time studying books, or medicine, or real estate, or international politics. Don’t spend time remembering the name of that job agency service, or eviction notice guidelines, or the phone number of cheap services.

Those who remember everything they’ve ever learned, those who read every book in a library and don’t “specialize” what they know, probably can’t afford to do so. A library, it’s resources, the free access to internet: all of it is indispensable. Knowledge on cosmology? Astronomy? Biology? First of all, who knows if you might one day need it for whatever reasons. You probably aren’t gonna become a NASA scientist any time soon, but maybe it might become useful knowledge in some other way. Anything’s possible. Secondly, learning all of this stuff is an escape, candy for the tired brain. You may never become a doctor, or you may need to know that Garlic produces Allicin when chopped, or that blue ink comes from mainly sea crustacean blood, or which companies use the most bee killing pesticides, or whatever. But hey: the fantasy that you might need it, or the hope that this information might help you escape the tired repetitions that have become your life…it’s indispensable.



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