Sherlock Holmes Guards His Mind

Holmes and Watson don’t just differ in the stuff of their attics—in one attic, the furniture acquired by a detective and selfproclaimed loner, who loves music and opera, pipe smoking and indoor target practice, esoteric works on chemistry and renaissance architecture; in the other, that of a war surgeon and self-proclaimed womanizer, who loves a hearty dinner and a pleasant evening out—but in the way their minds organize that furniture to begin with. Holmes knows the biases of his attic like the back of his hand, or the strings of his violin. He knows that if he focuses on a pleasant feeling, he will drop his guard. He knows that if he lets an incidental physical feature get to him, he will run the risk of losing objectivity in the rest of his observation. He knows that if he comes too quickly to a judgment, he will miss much of the evidence against it and pay more attention to the elements that are in its favor. And he knows how strong the pull to act according to a prejudgment will be.

And so he chooses to be selective with those elements that he allows inside his head to begin with. That means with both the furniture that exists already and the potential furniture that is vying to get past the hippocampal gateway and make its way into long-term storage. For we should never forget that any experience, any aspect of the world to which we bring our attention is a future memory ready to be made, a new piece of furniture, a new picture to be added to the file, a new element to fit in to our already crowded attics. We can’t stop our minds from forming basic judgments. We can’t control every piece of information that we retain. But we can know more about the filters that generally guard our attic’s entrance and use our motivation to attend more to the things that matter for our goals—and give less weight to those that don’t.


He is keenly aware of how emotions can doom him, and is ever vigilant against letting corrupt memories into his mind to corrupt his judgement.

Folksonomies: enlightenment mindfulness samurai judgement

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Sherlock Holmes:Person (0.854494 (neutral:0.000000)), Watson:Person (0.332021 (neutral:0.000000))

Sherlock Holmes (0.959356): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Judgment (0.789459): dbpedia
John Watson (0.749625): dbpedia | yago
A Study in Scarlet (0.744736): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Professor Moriarty (0.730299): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Jeremy Brett (0.715967): dbpedia | freebase | yago

 Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Konnikova , Maria (2013-01-03), Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, Viking Adult, Retrieved on 2013-03-21
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: psychology mindfulness


    23 MAR 2013

     Mental Discipline

    Memes on mental discipline, from fictional characters to scientific virtues.