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I’ve been loosely reading into how cognition works and, out of a probably Luddite belief, want to try to present ideas I’m trying to understand through mock blog posts to the internet in an attempt to retain information. Part of me doesn’t agree with the word “Luddite” there, but I think it makes sense in terms of “all facts are available on the internet, therefore learning facts isn’t super relevant anymore”.
As of recent it feels that I’m reading much more information than I’ll ever be able to retain and the important stuff just slips through the cracks. There are a lot of interesting philosophies around this stuff (e.g. if it’s not important enough to remember, it’s not important information) but they all seem to have their own contradictions.
For example: if you want to understand high level math (cryptography papers, for instance) in academic papers but don’t care for basic algebra, you can’t really just skip everything in between. There’s a pyramid of knowledge and a slow acquisition to get where you want to go. The algebra obviously isn’t useless because it helps you learn the more complicated math, but at the same time, there is no immediate value in learning the algebra because your goal is not to understand algebra. How do you convince yourself to learn algebra? If we could all be thrilled by long term goals, there would be more hikers and bodybuilders. This obviously doesn’t work too well for the average person.
It always feels odd trying to convince yourself whether or not information is valid or not. If you wanted to learn COBOL and presented your intent to a group, one could say “that language is not used anymore, it is useless to learn” while “the methodology for programming is all the same, besides, it’s a reference in future languages”.
I’ve been having a strange anxiety when it comes to learning new information and I always feel feverish in trying to memorize stuff and I focus more on the process than the information itself. This sucks when I try to actually use the information, because it’s all just bits and pieces of term/definition that I never took the time to think over.
This whole thing almost feels like a weird self help experiment that will end poorly. I think I enjoy writing and benefit from it, so maybe if I dump time into this I can become both a better writer and have like… better control of my mind?
Anyway, I hope that you enjoy these posts. Maybe I’ll tragically die in a car accident and someone will Google my handle then these posts will pop up.