Half way between Portland and Astoria on Highway 30 there’s a stretch of road about 20 miles long where cellphone service stops. It was right then when Rachel and I had to use our brains. “What’s her name? You know, she was in that one movie with whats-his-face.” That was pretty much all we had to go on. I was driving so I asked Rachel to “just look it up”. That’s when we realized how much of our own memory we had given up to the internet.
It happened slowly. Over the course of several years I’d imagine. One search at at time slowly letting IMDb, wikipedia, and the like become my memory overflow. I started to believe that I didn’t need to hold on to useless information in my brain and to “just look it up”. On page 193 of The Shallows, we learn that letting the web hold our explicit memory is in fact bad for brain development. We actually need to continue to exercise our ability to recall information and that is adds more pressure on our working memory. We need to retain this kind information as a way to preserve and grow our intellect.
“She was in that one movie about swords where she kicked major ass.” ” Oh yeah, she was also in that one where she O.D.’d on heroin and that one dude had to use that huge syringe to bring her back to life.” All together now, “UMA THURMAN!”