Dumb, Dumber, and, uh, Dumberer?

I think I’m developing a learning disability.

I’ve recently signed up for a program at work that would require me to memorize a boat load of facts, figures, and events, and I’m finding the task more daunting than I expected.

I’ve always had poor memory. Or, more accurately, my memory has gotten infinitely worse over the past two decades. I find it difficult to remember events that took place more than five years ago, and even those I do remember are blurry at best. I would sometimes bump into a friend or acquaintance and they would easily wax nostalgic about some funny event that we experienced back in 1997, for instance, and I would try my hardest not to allow my eyes to gloss over as they recounted the story with disturbing detail. They would eventually ask me that heart-stopping question: “Do you remember that?”

Recently, I had a chat with a former colleague and he informed me that I helped improve his management style because of advice I’d given him in 2001. I shamelessly asked him to refresh my memory, and he told me the circumstances surrounding what apparently was a work life-changing moment to which I was a primary cause. I sheepishly accepted his kudos after deciding that the advice I evidently gave him sounded like something I would say.

I blame technology for my poor memory.

I blame the cell phones that remember phone numbers for me; the DVRs that remember to record TV programs without my having to worry about them; the computer applications that give me those nifty pop-up reminders about appointments or someone’s anniversary or that routine colonoscopy.

I blame Google and Wikipedia for always having just the right answers for any question that I no longer have to know ‘off the top of my head’. I mean, why bother? After all, the answer is only a mouse click away.

We don’t have to remember anything anymore. We’ve gotten lazy, and, in the process, we’re getting dumber.

It isn’t as if we’re now able to use our brains more efficiently because we no longer employ as much of the hippocampus or the vast neural network that process and store memory. But, what if, because of these technological wonders that allow us to release our brains from such menial tasks as remembering someone’s birthday, our brains would then evolve to do things we’ve only ever dreamed of? Like, what it we evolve into a species where telekinesis or psychokinesis becomes the norm?

Unlikely.

We’ll probably develop a gadget someday that will allow us to do those things, too. In fact, it’s probably just around the corner.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if I am suddenly (albeit inexplicably) transported back to the 1400’s or even as recent as the 1800’s being as I am now—subconsciously and consciously dependent on technology. I would undoubtedly feel lost and helpless because everything would be so ‘manual.’ Or, I wonder if innate, instinctual processes will come flooding back if I’m suddenly forced to think about what I’m doing and how to do them. I’ll probably be frustrated at first but will end up adapting sooner or later.

Doubtful.

Better people will survive. I will be an absolute mess and would be sent to the corner with a dunce cap.

Wow, these thoughts are troublesome…

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3 Responses to “Dumb, Dumber, and, uh, Dumberer?”


  1. 1 smysore February 11, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Gosh, tell me about it! My husband used to complain that I have a photographic memory and so even if I forgive, I never forget. But some how I have lost it in the last 8 to 10 years. Some specific periods of my life seem to have been completely erased from my memory. It is downright scary. Even he is amazed at all the stuff that I don’t remember …

  2. 2 princess1236 February 11, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Well that explain why you have not given me the $500 you owe me…

    Well you better think up of a system for you to remember before you loose all your memory. Have you see “memento” if not rent it, you might relate to the main character.

    http://www.otnemem.com

  3. 3 jonsquared February 12, 2009 at 7:58 am

    i been wanting to rent that movie for a while but i keep forgetting to do so…


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