Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Instantly Accessible Memories

My memory is often like a sieve and what's more fairly random about deciding what to retain and what to let go. As a student, committing stuff to memory took forever and still remained perilously close to slipping away. Over the years I have found lesser and lesser use for my ability to remember and so my inability is not quite the handicap it once used to be. James D. Watson's essay "On My Mind" talks about long lasting memories and why it is not as valuable an asset to human beings as it once used to be. He says:

Until the development of written languages, all of human experience and culture had to be carried in our brains. Older people with vast memories of the past were necessarily more respected than their younger, less-experienced counterparts. Today, however, much of our culture is stored in books, in musical scores, in enduring works of art, and now in the hard drives of computers.

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