"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
4 Part I: How to remember almost anything: the Anki system6 Part I: How to remember almost anything: the Anki systemPart I: How to remember almost anything: the Anki systemAugmenting Long-term Memory2020-09-24Journal
I therefore have two rules of thumb. First, if memorizing a fact seems worth 10 minutes of my time in the future, then I do it\\ I first saw an analysis along these lines in Gwern Branwen's review of spaced repetition: Gwern Branwen, Spaced-Repetition. His numbers are slightly more optimistic than mine – he arrives at a 5-minute rule of thumb, rather than 10 minutes – but broadly consistent. Branwen's analysis is based, in turn, on an analysis in: Piotr Wozniak, Theoretical aspects of spaced repetition in learning.. Second, and superseding the first, if a fact seems striking then into Anki it goes, regardless of whether it seems worth 10 minutes of my future time or not. The reason for the exception is that many of the most important things we know are things we're not sure are going to be important, but which our intuitions tell us matter. This doesn't mean we should memorize everything. But it's worth cultivating taste in what to memorize.