transience of memory

Read these words… now they’re gone.

The memory will sit on your mind or your eyes or even your tongue for a moment, you might repeat the sentence just a few times to make sense of them, but you can’t read them again. They slip into a sea of thoughts so dense they become the blur that is your life. This type of information transience is almost unheard of these days.

Back in the day, I don’t even mean that long ago, perhaps even in my lifetime, humans would interact differently. Those fluid, fleeting mouth movements were there for the taking once and once only. Blink your ears and you’d miss it. At that stage in human engineering when brain capacity was seldom supplemented with disc drives, hardware or the cloud, we chose carefully the sights and sounds with an impact to store within our heads. Those particular moments of our everyday that had some meaning became the memories that you can recall.

The question now is: is our character defined by the moments we, whether conscious or subconsciously, choose to occupy a place in your brain, or, our ability to choose those moments.

Consider for a moment you are a citizen of the future; there’s little doubt that you will be. You can recall, at the touch of a button in your mind, every minute detail of what you did yesterday and the day before that and the one before that. How could that affect your decisions today? You could become so reliant on things that have already happened that you fail to see the things that could be. The safety of the decisions that you have already enjoyed crap on your imagination with such a pungent odour the risk of something new hardly seems worth the clean-up. Ideas like diamonds in the rough will remain just that.

The memories of yesteryear will be there, for the sake of nostalgic reminiscing, in the form of this or that, but not to rule your life. Facebook already stores your photos to ‘the beginning of time,’ Instagram is much the same. The cloud synchronises with your phone and soon with your mind.

So, I implore you to think on your feet, live a little and forget something. Please, for the love of Our Gracious Lord, don’t screenshot your Snapchats. The transience of memory is part of our humanity.



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