Holmes on the Brain – "A Study in Scarlet"

“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”

– Sherlock Holmes

Detective Skills

As already said in a prior post, Kahneman’s framework of our brains, working in an intuitive system one and a reflexive system two, is key to understand how our minds trick us. In order to be/act reflexively, we must enforce ourselves to de-bias. This painful effort is clearly cited by Beveridge in his book, “The art of Scientific Investigation”. Montier argued the same in his 2002 paper.

Being skeptic may be one of the paths to wordily wisdom. FOCUS, ATTENTION, MOTIVATION, AWARENESS are key words.

“Powers of observation can be developed by cultivating the habit of watching things with an active, enquiring mind. It is no exaggeration to say that well developed habits of observation are more important in research than large accumulations of academic learning.” — W. I. B. Beveridge in The Art of Scientific Investigation