How Much Do You Know?

Seems the less you know the better

In the 80’s Thomas K Landauer conducted a study—and factoring a 70 year life span, how much you learn versus how much you forget versus what one is able to recall, it turns out individually we don’t know very much.

The averaged human has a seemingly unlimited capacity to absorb knowledge, take in their surroundings and memorize bits of interest, but so much we are remembering eventually gets pushed off the end of the tape. And the information we are scanning turns into mere bullet points—fuzzy highlights of the unordinary we encounter any particular day. Our radar typically remembers the anomalies, not the familiar of the daily drive.

What someone was wearing or the details of a boring drive is not recorded sufficiently to know it. We scan for danger—and a typical day goes by without recollection. What day was that anyway? I use to do some fairly high level math—now I can’t understand my own notes. It went away when I left its utility.

The typical belief does not have enough facts to support it. It isn’t just religion either, but flat earthers, round earthers, scientists, politics, etc. This is why the world is enamored in belief—we can’t remember enough to know much of anything. Most belief is habit in the safety of routine. And yes, interpretation is full of conjecture as well.

Turns out at the climax of life the average person knows about 1 gigabyte +\- of information.

That isn’t much. It’s less than a low-end USB thumb drive. You know about $10 worth of digital memory. What we do have in our favor though is our ability to collaborate and share. This is where we get the power to do anything we collectively put our efforts to.

That is what forces us to tolerate each other. Watching the “Alone” series it dawned on me how working and living alone, the foremost experts in the field basically had a competition to see who would starve to death last. Nobody thrived. It takes a village of skill sets and beliefs to thrive.

Remember that post I did about the inverse square law of physics? It was one of my all-time favorites, yet I don’t remember much of what it said. I do remember Dave in the comments. Dissipated Energy