We Compile What We Read in the Context of When We Read It

Reading and experience train your model of the world. And even if you forget the experience or what you read, its effect on your model of the world persists. Your mind is like a compiled program you've lost the source of. It works, but you don't know why.


...reading and experience are usually "compiled" at the time they happen, using the state of your brain at that time. The same book would get compiled differently at different points in your life. Which means it is very much worth reading important books multiple times. I always used to feel some misgivings about rereading books. I unconsciously lumped reading together with work like carpentry, where having to do something again is a sign you did it wrong the first time. Whereas now the phrase "already read" seems almost ill-formed.

Intriguingly, this implication isn't limited to books. Technology will increasingly make it possible to relive our experiences. When people do that today it's usually to enjoy them again (e.g. when looking at pictures of a trip) or to find the origin of some bug in their compiled code (e.g. when Stephen Fry succeeded in remembering the childhood trauma that prevented him from singing). But as technologies for recording and playing back your life improve, it may become common for people to relive experiences without any goal in mind, simply to learn from them again as one might when rereading a book.

Eventually we may be able not just to play back experiences but also to index and even edit them. So although not knowing how you know things may seem part of being human, it may not be.


Folksonomies: reading memory worldview

/hobbies and interests/reading (0.563028)
/art and entertainment/books and literature (0.529823)
/technology and computing (0.356306)

books multiple times (0.994853 (:0.000000)), train your model (0.790617 (:0.000000)), different points (0.771207 (:0.000000)), Stephen Fry (0.739676 (:0.000000)), childhood trauma (0.731079 (:0.000000)), experience (0.633898 (:0.000000)), experiences (0.539850 (:0.000000)), world (0.516332 (:0.000000)), mind (0.490777 (:0.000000)), life (0.484621 (:0.000000)), people (0.458886 (:0.000000)), misgivings (0.447087 (:0.000000)), reading (0.422783 (:0.000000)), implication (0.420881 (:0.000000)), carpentry (0.414540 (:0.000000)), phrase (0.407521 (:0.000000)), effect (0.403140 (:0.000000)), Context (0.401959 (:0.000000)), program (0.399377 (:0.000000)), source (0.399214 (:0.000000)), state (0.393374 (:0.000000)), brain (0.393281 (:0.000000)), Technology (0.391247 (:0.000000)), things (0.391237 (:0.000000)), work (0.390499 (:0.000000)), index (0.390412 (:0.000000)), sign (0.390132 (:0.000000)), bug (0.385534 (:0.000000)), pictures (0.385217 (:0.000000)), trip (0.385099 (:0.000000))

Stephen Fry:Person (0.748842 (:0.000000))

Source code (0.907290): dbpedia_resource
Compiler (0.885942): dbpedia_resource
Philosophy of science (0.807000): dbpedia_resource
Concepts in metaphysics (0.788057): dbpedia_resource
Play (0.774673): dbpedia_resource
Mind (0.772376): dbpedia_resource
Programming language (0.760305): dbpedia_resource
Debut albums (0.747318): dbpedia_resource

 How You Know
Electronic/World Wide Web>Blog:  Graham, Paul (December 2014), How You Know, Retrieved on 2017-09-29
  • Source Material [www.paulgraham.com]
  • Folksonomies: knowledge reading memory


    29 SEP 2017

     Reading is About Worldview, Not Memorization

    We Compile What We Read in the Context of When We Read It > Emphasis > It’s Okay to “Forget” What You Read