Friday, October 26, 2007

Memorizing, phone numbers

The last couple of weeks have been hectic, and I'm looking forward to getting back to the blog in the coming days. :) For those of you who are interested, this time I was sucked into the photography world, the NYC Photo Expo, workshops and classes by people in the know, and meetings with other photogs. Man, time has flown, but it's slowing down now and I'm catching up on life.


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
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.


1 comment:

  1. Is reliance on external computing/data sources really a hindrance? Or, does it just allow us to free up active memory for "higher thought processes"?

    I took Owen to the dr this week and they took his temperature by running this cool thermometer across his forhead. I wondered how it worked and was able to look it up online (it's a temporal thermometer). It was very cool and non-invasive.

    Also, as I was planning pack meeting, I was able to quickly check what time the sun set on a particular day so we could better time our outdoor campfire.

    I loved being able to access information quickly and accurately.
    Yes, this changes how I store and access information, but I feel like it gives me freedom to focus on more important stuff.

    So, I see your point about loosing touch with the information that has hitorically formed an important part of who we are, but I don't think I'll miss it much with the advantages we now have.