Good read RafDouglas. I can’t help but think it’s all a bit theoretical though. I mean patterns/numbers/information can be found anywhere, as you point out, so to grade yourself and your understanding in the quantifiable form of a book isn’t very fair on yourself. I’m starting to think, through my own research along very similar lines, that the best way to measure ‘how much you know’ is by your ability to express it.
Now, expression through writing is one thing, and thank fuck that it is because it’s a great method of getting your thoughts in order, but it’s also a far cry from verbally expressing those same thoughts/ideas. Therefore, I would challenge you to start speaking to people about your ideas, but that means attracting people who are interested in similar things, which should occur fairly naturally once you begin to increase the gravity around the knowledge base you’re building.
That all brings me to my last point. I’m not sure that ‘retention’ is the best way of conceptualizing this idea. ‘Knowing’ is about being, and what it means to be human is something we haven’t come close to figuring out — we just discovered that our brains have multi-dimensional structures within them, which doesn’t sound very much like a solid-state drive to me.
Also interesting to note is that I read that referenced information months ago, haven’t thought of it since and only just remembered it when I started to write this response. That makes me think that a better way of measuring what you know is by how much/well you can express.
I’m not an engineer but perhaps a more engineer-y analogy would be to think of information, as you present it, like a telecommunications network. We humans represent transmission links between the terminal nodes (books). On the ‘Network of Information’, a book can be accessed, it’s information absorbed and then transmitted to other destination terminals. I think what separates whether or not you ‘know’ or ‘understand’ the information can be measured by how successful you are at transmitting that information to a destination terminal.
The question then becomes, where is your destination?
What do you think?