Saturday, August 16, 2008

How many memories are lost each day?

My memory is slipping as I get older, but that's not the memories I'm thinking about in this ramble!

Have you ever thought about those memories that vanish into oblivion each day? You attend your child's baseball game, watch and leave. You retain some memory of parts of it for a while, but then those memories slip into the dark recesses of the brain and are, for all practical purposes, gone.

Yes, a crowd watched and lots of memories were made. However, the game is over, children grow, life moves on and it's history. One person retains a bit, another a highlight. Some memories are given a place of honor, shined and re-used time after time, bringing a smile. Others are tarnished by things learned later. Some are deliberately banished to the deepest memory boxes and locked away.

These days we're much better at trying to hang onto memories. We bring our cameras, our recorders and even our cell phones to capture moments. I find that I watch family gatherings and events through the eye of a camera the majority of the time these days.

For the longest time those photos and films ended up in boxes, gathering dust just like our memories. In an attempt to keep the memories alive we now have YouTube, Flickr, Slide and other similar venues to share memories. Some are watched by millions of strangers with no one iota of connection to the actual memory.

We have blogs and so many ways to store information. With the advent of the Internet and computers we've figured out a way to hang onto memories forever if we have the time to type or talk about them.

I woke this morning thinking of all the memories I have stored in my brain somewhere. It led me to thinking about all the memories stored by the billions of people currently wandering around the world. It's overwhelming to try and think about those numbers.

That led me to ponder all the memories that have passed on into complete oblivion. Throughout history some cultures have attempted to chronicle their memories, their history while others have focused solely on the day-to-day and left barely a mark.

So many memories have been lost and so many are being lost each day. We scrambling to hang onto them, cramming them onto video, hard drives and the world wide web.

I wonder if someday future generations will be implanted with some sort of mind recorder that allows us to capture life as it happens, creating a chronicle of memories for anyone wanting to share? Hope it's selective, with an internal off / on button!
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