Sherlock: Mind over matter

Sherlock Holmes is much more than a character of fiction. He has become a symbol of overflowing genius. And though the writings of Conan Doyle and other adaptations portray the consulting detective as a man detached from the world, there is a lot more nuance that the character derives as a symbol.

It is common knowledge that the earth goes round the sun. Sherlock doesn’t seem to know the fact nor does he seem to care. His work occupies his mental space completely. Every other useless fact that doesn’t matter only takes up his processing power. This is a great character trait that Doyle installed into Sherlock – and it is more than fact. Our brains have great but limited processing capacity. Filling up the brain with unimportant trivia only slows your brain down. It is because the brain is built to deliver finite power. This finite power can either be used for processing or to store memories. And often we make a bargain between the two choices.

Our brains have great but limited processing capacity. Filling up the brain with unimportant trivia only slows your brain down. It is because the brain is built to deliver finite power. This finite power can either be used for processing or to store memories. And often we make a bargain between the two choices. We devote some portion of the power to our memories while we devote the other portion to processing incoming information. Now if you choose to remember less, you will free up some extra power for processing.

To simply understand, let’s look at the brain of the computer ( since it is modelled fairly close to our own brain). If you have a lot of files stored on your hard-drive ( your memory), your CPU becomes slower (processing power decreases). If you delete unimportant files from your hard drive and free up some space, the CPU works fast again.

So it is Sherlock’s choice to prefer his mind over matter. And it is up to the individual to choose what’s best for him. Because although you need a fast brain, you also need to know stuff. I personally prefer to do best of both.


 

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