It appears to be generally accepted that as infants, we absorb vast amounts of stimuli and information, with our brains far more active than they are as adults. Furthermore, it is a common belief that as we grow up our brains begin to edit our perceptual experiences. This appears to be associated with the development of individual identity and the need to concentrate on prioritized tasks. Without this eliminative ability, we would all be overwhelmed by our daily experiences.
Let us assume that the ability to absorb all personal experience and remember it remains with us, but that the brain’s task of editing continues as well. How could a belief in such juxtaposed and fantastic theories help us as lifelong learners?
If we believe that people can absorb all experience and remember it, then we may form a stronger belief in our personal ability to grow in this direction. If we also believe that our brains have worked most of our lives to narrow our awareness and memory – largely for our own sanity – then we may develop an even stronger inspiration for personal growth.
Essentially, instead of asking ourselves, “what mental workout must I do to improve my ability to take in and remember more information?” we now ask, “how do I get my brain editor to relax, so that I may take in more information and remember it?” This question may be much more inviting than one which requires a belief in mental weight-lifting in order to achieve the same goal.
Let me know what you think. Share your own theories.