The picture I have of you
have all the lines
somewhere I can’t see
but I know when I meet you
it is all there
where I can’t see
- GOOD MEMORY.—Many a man fails to become a thinker for the sole reason that his memory is too good.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Human all too human, Miscellaneous Maxims And Opinions. Translated By Paul V. Cohn, B.A. New York The MacMillan Company 1913, Free license from Gutenberg.org
I don’t know how serious you have to take this aphorism but I have a bad memory and I am a (over)thinker. One way you can see some reason in this is the idea that if you read a text or listen to a lecture you often unconsciously select what you want too here.
You probably know that our senses: hearing, sight, smell etc, overload our brain with information and that brain has to give “us” something we can digest. We all have had the experiences that a noisy road after a few weeks becomes silent. that’s our brain deciding that we no longer need to hear that noise. It’s the same reason you don’t feel your cloths touching you all the time and that you can focus on a few lines in a book without being distracted by everything that’s going on just outside what’s important at that moment.
This selecting of what you feel and see is something that happens automatically but there is no reason to believe that the same mechanics could not also work in other parts with other functions of the brain. We are, for instance, good in ignoring evidence if it doesn’t suit our world view, look at people that believe in all kinds of conspiracies or religious sects that have to constantly come up with new dates for when the earth will be finally destroyed.
My, somewhat silly, idea is that if your memory is good to really good you read and listen to most that comes your way once and let your brain do it’s censoring and repackaging of that information. You learn not what de author meant to tell you, you learned what you think the author wanted to tell you. This also happens for the people wit bad memory but they have to revisit the same texts and speeches over and over (if they want to learn it) and this way they slowly filter out their own biases and come closer to the real meaning.
No matter what the case is, it is always good to re-read a text and be skeptical towards your own thoughts about what you think you just learned.