Memory is a weird thing. There are some who say you can hack it (and other aspects of your mental/physical capacities), there are others who believe that you are given a brain with only so much capacity, but few who ever make it to the breaking point of using it all. I’ve been asked if I do mental exercises to train my brain (nope), or what it is I do to read, retain, and restate so much (rest/Sabbath is key). And its amazing. We can think that we forget so much, but in a flash – whether its a smell, touch, sound, or sight – we are triggered to memories. I remarked to a friend how one of the stars of The Avengers movie looked so much like someone from the past that it was actually disruptive to enjoying it without employing a memory filter of sorts. Memory… its got a few sides worth considering in our techie age for sure.
One of these hemispheres of memory is just the facility of managing it. As stated so nicely on the post at BigBible that sparked this one:
…Culture and context
How do we learn from this now, in a culture that relies more and more on other mediums to do our remembering for us? Do we bother re-visiting our memories, or do we just assume they’re stored somewhere? What happens when we have a dramatic encounter with God? Do we remember it – consciously recall it – in a way that influences our lives? How can we harness the power of technology to help us remember, without putting it in the place of memory itself…
This reminded me of one of the ways in which I use Evernote – I use it to store blog posts (archives) and tweets that I which to remember or probably look back at later for reference. And usually I’m just saving a snippet, not the entire article – even though it might be something specific in the article that’s not clipped that I might need later. In a real sense, I’m using Evernote (a storage system with algorthm for search) as an appendage to the brain I already have, sometimes to a deterement of knowing/undestanding/wisly applying whatever was saved there.
The other hemisphere comes from the side of my devices. Over time I’ve steadly acquired more and more portable storage space. These days, my mobile has 48GB inside (16GB internal memory + 32GB microSD card). My iPad has 16GB, but I rarely save anything on it that I’m not concerned with deleting, I use Dropbox and ad-hoc WLAN connections to my mobile to be its backup/appendage. Then there’s also that 1GB USB memory key bracelt that’s an ICE mechanism. But is that steady acquisition of more and more space healthy? I’m already dealing with several layers of backup/redundancy because of it – but why is it even needed (besides my admiditly large photo and music collection)? Is this a silo just waiting for me to be taken out before it can be cashed in (Luke 12:13-21)?
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
Memory. Its a tough subject from both ends. A lot that we do with language is simply the translation of memory to activity and back to memory. Perhaps its ok to have some of this external to our physical facilities (remember how God instructed Israel towards the level of remembering the law, “write it on the tablet of your hearts,” “write it on your foreheads and eyelids,” “inscribe it on the doorposts of your home,” “when you get to that place, build me an altar…”). But, if we spend more time building the case for these external places and channels for memory, do we also miss the point of the life we were meant to live (John 4:21, 23)?
…a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem… But a time is coming- and now is here – when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeks such people to be his worshippers.
When memory in both of its spheres incites us to live to Him, then is it most valuable?