An extraordinary article in the New York Times Magazine last weekend called "The Essence of Being Human is Not Remembering but Forgetting" -- is your copy still laying around? Because the very point of the piece is how far removed we are getting from the hard copy - the true memory - the ephemera.
With what is nothing short of universal proliferation, our "hard copies" are disappearing. We use digital cameras and store our photos on an external hard drive - we used to stick white-bordered photos on our mirrors. Our music is on a screen, we scroll through songs whose titles really never meant anything, for what we used to listen to was more like a panorama, a bigger picture, called an ALBUM. Our memories are now a Facebook Timeline. The notes and letters we sent and received are now emails, texts. Shopping mornings or strolls around a lake are now, so often, tweets. Carina Chocano makes the bleak statement that "what we used to call... records, accounts, entries, archives, collections, keepsakes, catalogs, testimonies and memories" are now, simply, data -- the "stored evidence of our existence".
A dear and close friend from as long ago as 9th grade visited me on the frontier this weekend. It was she to whom my notes were passed and from whom I received the (rite of passage) photo and magazine collage. She was always the archiver for us, and still has it all, us, in boxes. And there's little chance she'll read this post because she's not on Facebook and she shrinks at the thought of following a blog. She says it's because she'd get lost in it, but I think she knows what the Times article is saying, which is, if she goes there, all she's collected will turn into... data.
But is that so, is it a stark either/or? I commented on this same question on January 4th after reading "The Joy of Quiet", and today I put the same stake in the ground. There can be both! What some think of as a replacement existence - cyberspace - should be enabling, not crippling! It should allow us to experience MORE, not be a numbing escape!
Jason Foer, author of "Moonwalking with Einstein: the Art and Science of Remembering Everything", is quoted in the Magazine's article as saying "what makes things memorable is that they are meaningful, significant, colorful." Let's talk about how to use this enabler - cyberspace - the New Now - to create significance and color. Imagination.
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