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Boredom And Knowledge

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Posted by Paul R. Martin on July 14, 2002 05:48:19 UTC

Hi Mike,

***If there is no use for the term "absolute truth," then we should not have it.***

The usefulness I see for the term 'absolute truth' is as an identifier of one end of a spectrum I described some time ago. The other end would be identified with the the wildest of superstitions.

***I am content to include any knowledge which a person from anywhere in the universe and during any billion year period (bentury) would recognize and agree upon with persons of any other...if they had the ability. ***

All this knowledge would fall somewhere on my spectrum, closer to one end or the other. Nearly all of it would be useful to some extent although none, or precious little, would land at the extreme 'absolute truth' end. I think the world would be better off if people would conscientiously (whew, I don't know if I spelled that right or not) think about where each item of their knowledge fell on that spectrum.

***Above, you said, I must do something about that boredom! What do you think I should do?***

I think it would be a mistake for one person to give another such advice. What I will do, though, is give you the recipe that I use for myself. Then you can judge its applicability to you.

In the interest of preventing boredom in circumstances in which others would be bored, and in the interest of keeping my mind exercised, and in the interest of being able to play better at trivial pursuit, I have taken on a few challenges.

One is to memorize the names and years of reign of the Roman emperors. Another is to memorize the lattitude and longitude (to an increasing degree of accuracy) of every point of land on Earth. Another is to memorize the names and titles of all the heads of state of all the countries of the world. Up until not too long ago, I tried to memorize a small Russian book po russkie.

With this technique, I don't need any props or anything. I simply mentally drill myself on those things I am trying to memorize whenever I have to wait in a long line, or such. It's a lot of fun and I think my brain is better for it.

(By the way, I am pretty proud of my geography memorization technique invention. If you are interested, I could describe it sometime.)

Now, I am sure my methods wouldn't work for everyone. In fact, if I had to memorize baseball statistics, I would probably die of boredom and yet there are people who thrive on it. To each his own, and to you, yours.

Warm regards,

Paul

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