Of laughter and forgetting

hal_9000_memory.jpgThis is a funny saying. I think I’ve seen it somewhere else before but I can’t remember where. The t-shirt was probably created by a yank. Hah.

And an excellent write-up on memory and the ability of computers to do it for us (from Dan Visel at if:book) He used a work from one of my favorite authors, Jorges Borges, as an example (which could also in turn reference a Twilight Zone episode where forgetting can also be just as much a curse as remembering).

“…in a decade, there will be a generation dealing with embarrassing ten-year-old MySpace photos. Maybe we’ll no longer be embarrassed about our pasts; maybe we won’t trust anything on the Internet at that point; maybe we’ll demand mandatory forgetting so that we don’t all go crazy.”

It is never a very popular opinion to hold among librarians, that “erasing” something might be useful or helpful, since many librarians are also archivists who hold that everything is important to someone, somewhere at some point (see: the long tail). For instance, weeding collections is always a painful and difficult process for any librarian no matter what the specialty. But the ability to preserve the past using technology as an agent has mutated the goals of preservation into a monster with gigantic proportions. Perhaps the internets will create its own kind of technical Alzheimer’s as a kind of enforced forgetting. Now that would be an interesting episode. Like Hal at the end of 2001, singing “Daisy” until only the last few lines of the song remain.

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One Comment

  1. I find it harder and harder to clean through my hard drive and delete things. Is this why they are getting larger?

    As i get older and forget a few items now and then, I have been known to pull out and old book I have read before and re-read it to to keep it fresh in my memory.

    Will the day come where we are just like that bad Keanu Reeves’ movie- Johnny Mnemonic? Have a hard drive or memory stick for back up for our brains?
    ~ Ron
    The Final Taxi
    http://www.wildvoice.com/ronnasty

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