# Forgetting is a healthy process of inhibiting irrelevant memory
You may associate forgetting as something bad, like a memory loss. Even though forgetting sounds like something that you'd like to cure, forgetting is actually a healthy process that you'd like to keep. Forgetting is the process of our brain inhibiting the memory that are irrelevant in the current moment. Imagine having all of the information that is irrelevant to us in our mind, we'll not be able to focus on anything at all.
Solomon Shereshevsky is a famous figure for this topic. He is having a difficulty to forget. Even though not being able to forget has brought an amazing feat, not having the ability to inhibit irrelevant memory may had affected his daily life more than the benefit of not forgetting.
Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes (pp. 100-101).
Forgetting, then, would not be the loss of a memory, but the erection of a mental barrier between the conscious mind and our long-term memory. Psychologists call this mechanism active inhibition cf. MacLeod, 2007).
We are very dependent on a subconscious mechanism that reliably inhibits almost every memory every moment except the very, very few that are truly helpful in a situation.
- Writing allows us to deliberately forget
- We need to able to deliberately forget about the irrelevant thoughts. Forgetting is a healthy process of inhibiting irrelevant memory. Writing makes us have an external system, and it will help us forget about those lingering irrelevant thoughts.
- Remembering can be improved by deliberately creating cues
- If Forgetting is a healthy process of inhibiting irrelevant memory, remembering then is about circumventing the inhibition so that we can pull relevant memory. Based on this definition, if we want to remember more important information when we need it, we have to make those memories more relatable to others.