On the email list Simon Biggs wrote: "Frances Yates wrote a wonderful book titled The Art of Memory, which I would recommend to anybody interested in the history, culture and practice of mnemonics. However, it was written before the impact of computing was felt upon our culture. I think now somebody needs to write a book titled The Art of Forgetting, in order that we can find elegant and effective ways of avoiding information overload."
This leads me to the idea of Life Caching. There's a good article about that here See also Microsoft's MyLifeBits (image) - a lifetime store of everything and their guineapig Gordon Bell who since 2001/2 "has captured a lifetime's worth of articles, books, cards, CDs, letters, memos, papers, photos, pictures, presentations, home movies, videotaped lectures, and voice recordings and stored them digitally. He is now paperless, and is beginning to capture phone calls, IM transcripts, television, and radio."
For me, this creates a double anxiety - I get anxious about coping with all my data, and anxious about losing it. Yet I also know, from the experience of others, that if I *did* actually lose it, I would get over it more quickly than I imagine. Ironically, in recent years I have been getting rid of more and more of my material belongings, clothes, books, furniture, music, and yet my life cache is ludicrously large. Maybe it's time for a CD bonfire.