Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Overheard at Booth 5: The Death of Memory

Templeton is saying, "It's a really disturbing trend, and for me it started even twenty-twentyfive years ago when I read an article that said that all the McDonald's workers were no longer reading anything on the cash register, because there were no words - there were only little pictures of the Big Mac, the fries, the drink, all that. And I thought to myself then, dang, there's the end of literacy: McDonald's just killed it."

And Howerton continues, "Totally true, and it has gotten worse, I mean, my kids, they can't cognate a coherent thought, I swear, the other day, my daughter was 'like, yeah, well, we had a good time at the mall, and it was like, so funny, this thing, like, we just laughed SO HARD, because Kayley, she like - oh here!' and she showed me the pic on her phone that she took of her friend wearing a giant styrofoam hat. I mean, she couldn't EXPLAIN the scenario to me, she could only SHOW me from the picture that she took."

Templeton agrees, "Yes, yes. Something is definitely lost here. Some sort of cognitive abilities. The ability to make coherent connections. Which is strange, because I've always felt that all this technology, designed to keep us all together, really is isolating us. I mean, if we can't describe a situation to each other in words - such as 'my friend tried on this silly hat and we laughed ourselves silly' then we really have a problem!"

Howerton says, "I showed my kids the movie Fahrenheit 451 the other day, because you know, they need it for school and they won't read the book, and in the movie everyone was losing their ability to form memories, real long-term memories, which was a side effect from not being able to read. I remember thinking that the book had so much more depth than the movie, which was odd. But then it hit me that when the movie was made, it was made for audiences who were more literate. When that movie came out, more than likely most everyone who went to see it had already read the book. Now we make movies so that we won't have to read."

Templeton says, "I read the other day that there is more information now out there than there ever was, and I think the article stated that the average man in the 19th Century had about as much information over the course of a lifetime than would fill one issue of the New York Times cover to cover. Granted, that of course isn't talking anything about intelligence or reasoning capacity; it was talking purely about amount of information that they had access to. So I've come to this conclusion: there's too much information out there. Too much. There's so much that we can no longer even BEGIN to dive into the overwhelming mass of information that is pounding us. We're tuning out. Just like the people in Fahrenheit 451 - only instead of being starved for reading, we've got so much that we just refuse to read. Taking pictures is so much easier. We don't have to think, or even form memories. We just keep them stored on our memory cards!"

Howerton says, "Kinda makes me afraid we won't remember this conversation!"

Templeton says, "What makes me sad is that if this were ever written down and put on a blog somewhere, no one would ever read it. It would simply be one insignificant drop of water in an ocean of immeasurable absurdities."

No comments:

Post a Comment