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"You see," he explained, "I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones."
-Sherlock Holmes, in "A Study in Scarlet"


John Watson: Not important? It's primary school stuff! How can you not know that?
Sherlock Holmes: Well, if I ever did, I've deleted it.
John Watson: "Deleted it"?
Sherlock Holmes: Listen: [gets up and points to his head] This is my harddrive, and it only makes sense to put things in there that are useful. Really useful. Ordinary people fill their heads with all kinds of rubbish, and that makes it hard to get at the stuff that matters! Do you see?
John Watson: [brief silence; looks incredulous] But it's the solar system!
Sherlock Holmes: [extremely irritated] Oh, hell! What does that matter?! So we go around the sun! If we went around the moon or round and round the garden like a teddy bear, it wouldn't make any difference! All that matters to me is the work! Without that, my brain rots. Put that in your blog - or better still, stop inflicting your opinions on the world!
-Sherlock BBC, Episode 3: The Great Game


I really identify with the above quotes from the archetypal INTJ that is Sherlock Holmes. I'm curious if other INTJs organize their minds similarly to the way I do, so I have two questions for all the INTJs out there:

1. What do you keep in your "brain-attic"? What subjects have you dedicated yourself to knowing as completely as you are capable?

2. John makes a fuss about Sherlock not knowing that the Earth goes around the sun. What unessential knowledge have you deleted from your brain that other people have commented on?


My answers:

1. In my attic I keep information on cognitive science/psychology, writing, classical opera singing technique and the few people I really value.

2. I have almost no knowledge of politics, world events, celebrity gossip, famous people (not relevant to my fields), economics, geography, art and plenty of other things I can't currently remember. Because I deleted them. :cool:
 

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I love that clip!
 

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I loved that scene from the books and am so glad to see it made into the modernized version. :proud:

1. I keep a lot in my brain attic, even some of the exceptionally bad information that I like to use when I’m trying to point out just how bad that information (and information obtained in the same manner) is. A lot of such information has to do with psychology and other fields of science. As for the rest, I can’t really empty the contents of my brain attic in a single post, there is way too much stored in there, and very little of it is getting dusty.

2. A lot of pop culture and general modern culture, social stereotypes, politics, the weather, etc ad infinitum. It seems that I’m always learning some new notion to forget some previous bad idea.
 

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I keep knowledge of psychology, music, nanotechnology, genetics, computers, ..... I'm just going to put science and technology, and anything that takes my interest.

I purposely avoid information about celebrity gossip, trivia, art (which I mostly don't understand), world events and politics, (which I do understand, but it just crushes my little 'the world could be better' soul), and things I've deleted to the point I don't remember what they even are.

The question, aside from Sherlock's quote above, makes me think of Damian Lewis's character Jonesy in the 2003 movie Dreamcatcher, who actually thought of his mind as an attic/storeroom. He was my inspiration to follow suit, or it's when I became aware I was doing it, I'm not sure.
 

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I keep alot of info about history, sociology, tribal lore, familial connections, political theory, economics.

I toss out phone numbers, social networking information (WTF is Facebook? Besides the 2 forums I visit I am not on any other sites), technology for the most part, specific dates--I tend to keep memories of events but disregard the fine details, names.
 

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I don't think I've ever learned something as completely as I am capable. I tend to study until I've reached a point of self-satisfaction with the knowledge then quit. I often run parallel studies that are inspired by tidbits of information found in the original study. As far as organizing what's up there.... I don't. It's a Ni inspired jumbled mess with interchangeable relationships. (BTW, I love the Visuwords™ online graphical dictionary and thesaurus because it looks like my brain. The first time I saw it I actually squealed. Out loud.)

currently stored: Classical and art music (history, theory, and performance); livestock management practices (for the shock factor); horses (dressage, specifically); fantasy literature; etymology; writing; color theory; military logistics; firearms; cooking and baking; wine, beer, whiskey, scotch; public speaking techniques; MBTI/JCF; techniques for dealing with flashbacks and PTSD; biometrics; history of colloquialisms; stuff I need to know for my job

I know I've forgotten: sewing; needlework; birthdays; names; anything I can google, including word definitions; graphic design applications; higher level functions in Windows; most math
 

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(BTW, I love the Visuwords™ online graphical dictionary and thesaurus because it looks like my brain. The first time I saw it I actually squealed. Out loud.)
Love you, bookmarked.

And to be on topic as xNTJ, I store concepts and the fundamental general ideas. I started early too, realizing I am a hyperthreaded processor and not a storage server (like my teachers wanted). So, I changed the way I store, made categories, or dir's if you like, with subconscious archetypes as retrieval keys. It doesn't work great with names/numbers/etc as those things have only relevant and not absolute importance.

Which explains why I struggle recalling even my own phone but can recall ONE and only one phone number, no matter how many years pass between my calls: my fav home delivery (food).
Priorities ftw. :proud:
 
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