Several times a year as I scroll through the names listed in my cell phone, I remember the good old days when I used to know phone numbers. I remember when I used to have them memorized and could recall them at whim or how muscle memory had been drilled into my fingers so much that my fingers knew patterns instead of numbers.
When this happens, my index finger hovers for a moment over the send button of my phone and I wonder if it's such a good idea that I don't know these numbers anymore. The moment passes, I hit send, and my phone connects the call.
The ease of calling someone and the rush of the moment usually keeps me from thinking too deeply of this disconnect and its ramifications, but today I read an article in the NY Times about outsourcing knowledge and it made me pause. And I thought of my cell phone, and how I rarely do math on paper, or how often I turn to the internet for knowledge I should be able to remember from classes in school. And I wonder again, it this something I want to keep doing?
The Outsourced Brain
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: October 26, 2007
I realized the magic of the information age is that it allows us to know less. It provides us with external cognitive servants.
Unfortunately, I'm still undecided. Which in and of itself is a decision not to remember.