They say that the more you know, the more you know you don't know. Well, let me tell you, I've known how much I don't know for a long time now. And it pains me, because I want to know everything. Or at least a good part of it. A percentage. More than I do.
I read the news every day and try to remember everything I've read. But it's hard. For one thing, there are so many stories, so much going on around Australia and the world. For another thing, there is so much internet to distract me, and Twitter and Facebook are so tantalizingly there. For another thing, I have three kids to look after, and a house to run, and work of my own to do.
For another thing, the cat is usually sitting on the newspaper. And that makes it really hard for me to read.
I can retain an enormous amount of what interests me. Great TED talks, for example, stay with me indefinitely. Brilliant books, articles and blog posts make a lasting impact. I can remember theories and ideas, because they appeal to the creative side of my brain. But hard facts seem to disappear within seconds of processing. Names, dates and places can vanish into thin air, perhaps via an escape valve directly from my brain.
I have forgotten the majority of what I learned at school. Granted, you need to use your knowledge to retain it, and I haven't had much call for calculus over the years. I have, on the other hand, remembered much of John Donne's poetry, because I love it and have re-read it a billion times. Sadly it doesn't help me to recall the names of world leaders or where Estonia is on the map, but I do comfort myself by reciting The Apparition when SBS World News begins to get blurry of a night.
So what can I do? How can I learn all the things? And do you want me to recite The Apparition now?