My long term memory is awful, and I mean really, really bad. I struggle to remember any of my childhood clearly. I don’t remember the names of the people who were my friends for years at school, mates I went on holiday with. The lads that picked on me and the teachers who put up with me are completely wiped from my head (although I do remember the first girl I ever had a crush on – afternoon Julia!).
What I do remember from school is the run up to our GCSEs, and particularly the uproar that surrounded us being able to use calculators in the Mathematics exam. My Mum thought it was an outrage; partly because she was jealous that she’d had to learn her timetables at school and partly because it meant she had to fork out for a Casio!
Looking back now it’s ridiculous, barring having to check I’ve got enough change in my pocket when it gets to my round, I never need to do anything more than the simplest mental arithmetic.
And that pretty much expands to everything these days; you’re never more than a Google search away from finding out pretty much anything you need to know.
Q. How many islands make up the cooks archipelago?
Q. How old is Stephen Hawking?
Q. When was the first World Cup?
Most of it pointless, but it’s all there at your finger tips.
What I’m getting at is, if all this information is readily available to us, no matter where we are, do we really need to retain knowledge anymore? Do we need to memorise the events of human history? Do we need to be able to reel off the Capital City of every country? Or is it perfectly ok just to have all this information floating around in a mass bank of information that we call the internet?
Now let’s imagine, for a second, we can instantly access all this information and conveniently sidestep the issue it could be changed and twisted for evil.
What’s the point of clogging up all your grey matter with facts and figures if they can just easily be retrieved from the ‘net as and when you need them? Einstein’s Theory of Relativity wasn’t just down to a clever bloke with a brain full of facts, it was down to Albert taking what he’d read and researched and then spinning that information in to an explanation of how the Universe works. Imagine if he’d never had to remember anything he’d learnt? That he was hard wired into all the information that’s ever been documented and he could concentrate on using his massive intellect to come up with new theories and ideas. We’d be living on Mars by now!
Here’s another bonus, no one could ever ruin my evening in the pub by announcing its quiz night! There’s nothing worse than sitting down for a chat with your mates in the local, only to find a piece of paper and a chewed biro thrust in front of you. Followed by questions like ‘Where in the body can you find the patella?’ or ‘How many calories are there in a banana?’ But it’d be pointless if we could all tap into this endless fountain of knowledge.
So if you know me, don’t expect me to know your name the next time I see you, as I’m off to go unremember everything I’ve ever learnt. Especially if I owe you money!