Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Does anyone remember when people had good memories? Nope.

Book - Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
Author's book reflects on the art of memory
A book review from the Daily Beast
How we lost our memory-by Casey Schwartz

Foer's book points to a moment in history when technology changed the role of memory. “If you were a medieval scholar reading a book, you knew that there was a reasonable likelihood you’d never see that particular text again, and so a high premium was placed on remembering what you read,” Foer writes. “You couldn’t just pull a book off the shelf to consult it for a quote or an idea. ”

The invention of the Gutenberg press meant that books were no longer such a rarity that you had to imprint their contents onto your memory whenever you ran across them. Once they became retrievable, books changed the way people read. Now, information is even more easily tracked; all events easily documented; all opinions available. Knowing this, do we know things differently? Do we engage more casually with our lives, on the theory that any experience can be reduplicated later?

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