Have you ever lost something? Pretty sure you have. Do you remember when you gave up the search to find it? What a feeling. You know where it is. Why is it not there?
Memory is a fascinating subject. Whether we are talking virtual, on-board, or specific memories. What is a memory? Is it simply an event replaying itself? Perhaps a factual concrete sort of statement in time? Maybe memory is all subjective? Whatever it is, and however you are perceiving it, it makes up a huge part of who we are and how we move forward in life.
There was a study conducted in 2011 by the University of Columbia that highlighted how more increasingly in our day and age we trust the internet to remember simple facts that we don’t “need to remember” anymore. More and more it seems our virtual memory capacity is shrinking. But is it really?
A while back I was reading a book by Napoleon Hill in which he quoted Henry Ford saying on trial: “I pay people to know that. Why do I need to fill my mind when I can hire those around me to know the facts?” After that statement the judge was flabbergasted at how ignorant of a man he was. The same man that literally revolutionized the entire world.
This had a profound effect on me as I had always been a fact stuffer as a youngster, hungry to deliver knowledge in any kind of debate that would spur up. What was really interesting to me was how well Ford networked his way to knowledge. His power reached well beyond one who memorized simple facts over long periods of time. Useful don’t get me wrong, however seemingly limited.
Let’s Snap Into The Matrix!
We all recall how Neo goes into the Matrix and is able to download information into his present reality. Well apparently this is really a bit closer to what’s happening with our memory. As technology continues to advance forward, so do we. Quite the adaptive species, we are turning into more of a “digital being”. A being who transcends the idea of a solitary shell. With information zooming in and out of reality at the speed of light we are no longer separate beings.
With that being said A lot of phenomenal research was done at Harvard in the 80s on transactive memory. Memory that essentially was stored in anything around us. Basically your brain is so versatile and intelligent, that it knows that by storing memory externally and by creating ties or triggers to access the information, it can then keep its storage systems at an optimal level. Essentially storing information externally anyway and where it can keeps you fresh, alert, and ready to process that information at a higher speed. At the same time it does put a bit of dependency on the external systems (what and whoever they may be) to retain the information.
Quite fascinating. On one hand we are becoming less and less intelligent. Yet on the other we are becoming extremely smart at remembering how to get the information we need at the time we need it. That is called meta memory – when you essentially know who or what has what type of information intuitively.
All in all in closure as a whole we have a huge opportunity to maximize our potential. We have the choice to let technology condition us out of intelligence or the opportunity to wield it to unimaginable heights. With that said I’ll end with a quote from Henry Ford: “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”