Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Hmm …

… A Primer for Forgetting. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Sometime in the twenties in Berlin, a certain Dr. Kurt Lewin noticed that the waiters were very good at remembering the particulars of his restaurant bill—until the bill was paid. Soon settled, soon forgotten. Lewin wondered if he hadn’t stumbled upon a fact of mental life, that the finished task drops into oblivion more easily than the unfinished.
There is a paradox at work here. We remember what we left unfinished, but should we get around to finishing it, we will forget it.


  1. Why is that a paradox?

  2. Well, maybe it's just a contradiction, or simply incoherent. Presumably, one wants to remember. But if one finishes something, you won't remember. So if you want to remember, don't finish anything?