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In his "end of remembering", Joshua Foer argued that once upon a time remembering was everything, whereas, today, we have mountains of documents, the web and smartphones to store our memories. Foer asks: how can we adapt to a new reality in which most memories are stored outside the brain?
This evolving report examines what legacy-related trends might lie ahead.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
Many individuals are now life-tracking or lifestreaming, ie. trying to record the minutiae of their own lives digitally, partly for posterity, and also to better monitor how they live in the present.
As the programme notes make clear, "À La Recherche du Temps Perdu has been called the definitive modern novel. Proust's stylistic innovation, sensory exploration and fascination with memory were to influence a whole body of thinkers, and innumerable critics and novelists since. But how did he succeed in creating a 3000 page novel with such an artistic coherence?'"
"If the past is replayed too fast, life seems futile, and humanity resembles water flowing from a tap, straight down the drain. A film of history for today needs to be in slow motion, showing every person who ever lived as a star, though dimly visible in a night sky, a history still unexplored" - Theodore Zeldin, An Intimate History of Humanity
A call to action. Time to explore these unexplored histories together.
The Ego Trick looked at the 'bundle theory' of the self, and argued that we don't have a permanent essential self, but instead are a bundle of thoughts, sensations and impulses...doesn't feel like that though.
Sitting in the dark in 1981 in Honeypot Lane, with a pint of banana Nesquik and too early, too deep a love for company. Mystical companion ever since - il miglior canto.
Moves languidly along a flat line, left to right, like no other song.
Lenny's impressions - rose in teeth...brother...gypsy. My impressions: cold New York, snow fluttering by Greenwich Village road-signs in early 1999, before the surreal back-room bar with the chaise longue and the open fire up the archetypal fire escape.
Towering above all this, "thaaaaaaaaanks..." (In at least that one word, companion of Roy's "sweeeeeetly", Jenny trumps Lenny, or at least honours him in a voice he would have liked to have used but never had - now that I know all about, don't I?)
Can we ever escape - do we even really wish to escape - our own green lights flashing across the bay of memory, across the sound of time?
No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man can store up in his ghostly heart.
The too obstrusive fate that herded its inhabitants along a short cut from nothing to nothing.
They were gone, without a word, snapped out, made accidental, isolated, like ghosts, even from our pity.
The rhythm of the year, summing up and sadness and suggestiveness of life in new tunes.
It took me - at least - half my life to pick up and read such a slim volume, but now I find myself entranced by the clarity, craftsmanship and compassion permeating The Great Gatsby.