Episode Five – What If You Could Remember Everything?

Is the secret to post-literacy the ability to remember everything? Or is forgetting essential to being a human? The exploration of ideas beyond literacy continues with a consideration of the importance of memory.

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If you are interested in more about this topic, check out the section on the Beyond Literacy e-book.

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6 thoughts on “Episode Five – What If You Could Remember Everything?

  1. To watch ABC’s segment featuring Jill Price click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoxsMMV538U

    And to find out more about nootropics and their use to increase mental capacity in “regular” people, click here: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/01/experimenting-with-nootropics-to-increase-mental-capacity-clarity/252162/

    I can’t say that I would want to remember everything, but I wouldn’t mind a bit of a brain boost, a slight memory improvement. I find myself forgetting important things every now and then, and I could do without that.
    Also, after reading about people who suffer from hyperthymesia, I’ve been turned off from the idea of remembering everything. I found that they focus on the negative memories much more than the positive ones. Their horrible life experiences stick out much more in their minds than enjoyable experiences.

  2. Great episode! I like the idea of information/memory hoarding, I think it really speaks to the current state information overload explored in episode 4. I also think it is interesting to explore the imperfect nature of memory. I agree that these slightly altered memories are important for making sense of events whose significance may not have been prevalent at the time they occurred. Whether it is a historical event or a personal family story, the memory informs the present, and vice versa. If we remembered everything perfectly, would we be doing away with the reflective nature of memory in favour of a perfectly organized catalogue?

  3. One of my remaining concerns about post literacy, which I expressed a bit in the podcast, is what I perceive to be a disconnect or disregard for human relationships. This initially came to mind when we talked about the hive mind. The ability to connect to others people’s thoughts, knowing what everyone else was thinking. To me, this takes away the hard work of relationships with other people. Remembering everything poses the same problem to me. The struggle, the emotion, the connection with others is important. I worry that how we have been dealing with post literacy focuses too much on making things easier. Which does make sense…in my opinion mankind is inherently lazy. So making things easier is natural. But I think that the pleasure of relationships is very complex. If it was too easy it wouldn’t be fun, interesting, difficult, painful…I believe that struggle, conflict, and hard work are important to growth and connection.

    Maybe my concern stems from my inability to see the future. Change does not occur in a vacuum. If something as important as literacy was to change, everything around it would be effected. So perhaps the way we relate to others would evolve.

    Maybe I’m naturally pessimistic. Maybe I fear change.

    1. I think the key to this post-literate future might be a new type of society then. Not a human society, which is a society that values emotions and feelings and personal thoughts and independence, but rather a post-human society.

      I’m not sure exactly what a post-human is; it could be an android, a robot, or just a new type of human with a completely new brain make-up. But whatever this post-human is, I think they will be much more open to post-literacy, and not at all concerned with loosing their “humanity” or how their relationships with other “people” will be effected.
      Who knows what the future has to offer? It’s interesting to talk about it though!

  4. I really liked this episode, and watched the segment from 20/20 that you posted below. I still don’t think I fully understand Jill Price’s memory, however. Just because she can remember everything doesn’t mean that she is experiencing her who life at every moment, does it? I am also wondering if because her brain has the ability to do this, does it mean everyone’s brain has this capacity? I’m not really sure.

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