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Started by xbod72 on 12-Oct-2017 20:21:02
What's it like to have a very abnormally high capacity for information absorption, retention and retrieval?

Stephen Fry said that when he reads something "it just sticks" rather effortlessly. I listen to someone like Christopher Hitchens and he's able to reply to questions with such a breadth of reading and has quotations to pull down.

However, I'm not going to say "oh, they've just got the right brain-genes, the lucky fuckers" - you still have to sit and do the damn reading.

But are you someone like this? In conversation do you have The British Library in your head and can talk in a pub conversation about Brexit with reference to a 16th century poet and a 20th century Czech politician? Or do you know someone who can?

Is it entirely pleasant? Or do you get overwhelmed because someone only has to tell you "I fancy a banana" and suddenly your mind is chucking a hundred index cards of references to the forefront of your brain?

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thisonehasalittlehat - 12 Oct 2017 20:22:39 (#1 of 85)

It's alright.

Verdigris - 12 Oct 2017 20:26:19 (#2 of 85)

The first ten million years is the worst; then the next ten million years.

thisonehasalittlehat - 12 Oct 2017 20:26:56 (#3 of 85)

probably. I lost concentration after the first three words of the title.

TenGorillas - 12 Oct 2017 20:27:28 (#4 of 85)

I'm a bit "meh" about Stephen Fry TBH. Certainly when I've heard him talking about stuff I happen to know about he's been superficial and often downright wrong.

thisonehasalittlehat - 12 Oct 2017 20:28:09 (#5 of 85)

I agree he's got a wide but very shallow range of reference.

thisonehasalittlehat - 12 Oct 2017 20:31:44 (#6 of 85)

It's a bit of a craft that pulling in ideas and quotations from everywhere in conversation. You can learn and improve. It says little about ones learning.

halfnelson - 12 Oct 2017 20:33:39 (#7 of 85)

I find that if an area or subject interests me (or, in the case of a quote or anecdote, is funny or profound), I can remember absolutely loads about it, but if it's something like sport or classical mythology, I struggle even if I try to improve.

I'm not completely sure what practical application these things have outside quizzing or trying to impress in conversation.

tasselhoff - 12 Oct 2017 20:34:28 (#8 of 85)

The quote thing is something you learn for public speaking at the likes of Toastmasters.

tasselhoff - 12 Oct 2017 20:36:07 (#9 of 85)

And, like halfnelson, I also find it really easy to remember stuff I enjoy. It's an absolute bastard when it's something I have to learn but don't enjoy though.

Bromio - 12 Oct 2017 20:38:18 (#10 of 85)

My brain has an inconsistent memory retrieval system. So I can remember exchanges from years ago on GUT almost verbatim but I've already forgotten what this thread is about.

Yersinia - 12 Oct 2017 20:41:49 (#11 of 85)

I am rather like the thread header.

It can be irritating. Too much extraneous information, much of which doesn't really interest me.

That lack of interest explains the "shallow" part - I recall what I've heard or read, often word-for-word, and often I will also recall exactly where and when I heard or read it. But frequently, it wasn't interesting enough for me to delve deeper.

Then people accuse you of being a know-all when they ask a question, and you give the answer. They can get quite arsey, sometimes.

My mum, in particular can be very snappy, when I say, "I'm not sure, but I think..." and proceed to give the right answer. I only do that when I'm genuinely not sure, but half-recollect something that I've read somewhere.

There are, of course, areas that I am genuinely interested in, where my knowledge runs a little deeper.

thisonehasalittlehat - 12 Oct 2017 20:41:54 (#12 of 85)

Who are you

thisonehasalittlehat - 12 Oct 2017 20:42:25 (#13 of 85)

Too slow;

crabbyoldbat - 12 Oct 2017 20:45:55 (#14 of 85)

The poster on here that this question makes me think of is binturong - she appears to know everything

I'd suggest she's an expert googler, but for having met her, and seen her do it.

Dementor - 12 Oct 2017 20:46:05 (#15 of 85)

Stephen Fry said that when he reads something "it just sticks" rather effortlessly.

I wonder about that - he strikes me as someone who invests a lot in appearing to be very clever.

Yersinia - 12 Oct 2017 20:47:46 (#16 of 85)

I'm sure he does, but I think that's on top of a good basic ability at this sort of thing.

Yersinia - 12 Oct 2017 20:49:45 (#17 of 85)

I'd like to be a polymath, but I lack the discipline, so am merely a dilettante, with a wide, shallow and potentially wrong level of knowledge.

Eligelis - 12 Oct 2017 20:56:12 (#18 of 85)

A friend of mine is involved with Toastmasters. About a month and a half ago she asked me for some help with writing a speech, so i sat down, and started typing. In the end the speech she gave was about 80% what I'd written, and 20% slight amendments to what I'd written. She won the best speech of the evening award that night. So there we go. I'm an award winning speech writer.

That is my Toastmasters story.

halfnelson - 12 Oct 2017 20:56:56 (#19 of 85)

#17 - me too...

tasselhoff - 12 Oct 2017 21:13:18 (#20 of 85)

Nice work, womble.

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