I am pretty sure Google is responsible for some of my memory loss, or not so much my memory loss, but my increasing inability to dig deep into the vaults of my brain and pull out useless tidbits of stored information.
I was talking to my Mom on the telephone the other day. We were discussing Carmel, which is a really interesting little town on the coast of California, and she was asking me where did we normally stay when we were over that way. And I couldn’t for the life of me remember. I did recall the hotel name started with an “N”, but that was the only piece of information I could pull forth. I pondered and pondered with all my might, but it was useless. I eventually had to Google it.
And that got me thinking, I don’t really remember stuff like I used to, but of course, I don’t have to, because I have Google to fall back on. That bothers me. A lot. Because back when I was kid, it was a real chore to dig up facts. One either had to look it up in an encyclopedia, or go to the library and go through the painful process of digging around in the card files (I really miss card files, with the long draws you could pull out all the way) and then go find the appropriate book, and then go to the index, and find the page that piece of information might be on. And because this was such an arduous process, one made sure to remember the information, store it away in the memory for easy retrieval at a later date, or write it down somewhere.
But you don’t have to do any of that anymore. You can Google stuff on your telephone, and find millions of entries, including videos and images of anything. It’s too easy, and the time taken to find the information, does not warrant really making sure you do remember the answer, because – you can always use Google to find it again.
So, is the easy access to Google destroying our memories? I decided to Google that question and find out. Apparently I am not the only one who is worried about the destruction of our ability to remember facts and information. When I Googled – Is Google destroying our memory? – I was presented with 115,000,000 results. That’s a boatload of results. It turns out, because of our reliance on the Internet and smart phones, we are all suffering from digital amnesia. We store everything in our phones – dates, appointments, passwords and make no effort to remember anything, because all that information is right at our fingertips.
I began considering what process I went through to try and recall the name of the hotel in Carmel. As I said, I knew it started with an “N”, and I knew it was a name that was somehow European, so I went through the names of things that were European and started with “N” and I vaguely remembered it was an important name, like something super important had happened at the place in Europe with the same name, but I could never recall the name. It wasn’t until I Googled – Hotels in Carmel, that I came up with Normandy – The Normandy Inn.
Now I am thinking, what other skills are we losing, because we rely so heavily on the Internet, and sites such as Google. Reading maps, remembering where places are and how to get there. Birthdays, telephone numbers, account numbers, and the list goes on. We don’t even have to have long conversations about who is right, who knows the right information, because we can put a halt to the argument by simply finding that particular piece of information on our telephone instantly.
Perhaps I will start doing memory exercises. I will start with memorizing all of my family’s telephone numbers. And then, I was just talking to my Mum on the telephone, and we were talking about my post for today, and how we remember things, and how we recall events and experiences, and how nobody seems to sit without an electronic device in front of them anymore. So, maybe I will just sit at the patio table out back, and look at my garden and think and remember, or just sit. My parents used to say, “Sometimes me sits and thinks, and sometimes me just sits.”
Would you like to join me? On the patio. Remembering stuff. Or just sitting.
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