Remember When? … No, You Don’t

REminderElizabeth LoftusTEDTalk about false memory is quite the shared item lately …

The evidence continues to mount that our memories, which we continue to view as the official record of our lives, are not all they are cracked up to be.

As one of the many who tend to insist on saying things like “I remember what I said“, as though that makes my version of reality an inviolate truth to be enshrined for all time, I find the things we are learning about memory fascinating.

Memory is one of our perceptions and is similar to viewing something.  The police will always ask “Who saw what happened?” at the scene of an accident or a crime … and the lawyers will always destroy that same eye-witness testimony in court.  We are less in possession of The Truth than we are comfortable admitting. 

We remember what we think has happened …

We remember what we wish has happened …

We remember what we perceive has happened …

We just do not always remember what actually happened … Continue reading

Lest We Forget ….

“Not to transmit an experience is to betray it.”
Elie Wiesel

Our stories have to be told …

… when they are in the distant past and nobody alive experienced them.

… When they are past, but the wounds can still be felt.

… When they are fresh and the pain returns easily.

… When they are happening.

A time never comes when a story should not be told and retold … it’s how we remember who we are and how we got here. Continue reading

Just Throw It Away Already . . .

We live in a disposable society.

My parents and grandparents were products of the Depression, a global war, and a different approach to products.

Things  then were more designed to last and be replenished.  Pens were refillable, so you had no reason not to keep them.  Just put in another ink cartridge and you were good to go for a while.

A pen or a watch used to be the gift of choice for young people graduating from  high school.  These were valued and weighty gifts, often because these were the first real pens or watches we owned.   Pencils were cheap, but a pen . . . well, now I am a man, because I own a pen.

Owning a pen reflected your new status as an adult. Continue reading

Our Box of Stuff . . .

We keep our stuff in a box . . .

I like a good children’s sermon . . . the theology is on a level I can grasp and the message is usually simple.  Sometimes it is profound.

A recent one had to do with things in a box.  The things in the box were mementoes of a life, miraculously preserved after a disaster.  As each thing came out of the box  to show to the children, a memory was revealed.

Sometimes the memories were of big things, but sometimes they were about minor happenings, those short sparks that light up our lives.  Some brought forth instant “oohs” from the children, while others drew little immediate response.  When something is not our memory, we tend to pay less attention. Continue reading

“Twas Brillig” . . . Thoughts on Learning Stuff

My First Thought:

If you want a clear-eyed analysis of how social media is affecting learning, read “The Twitter Trap”.   Bill Keller provides an excellent critical statement of the “dark side” of using social media.  In his article, Keller touches on the shift from learning, knowing, and being able to show that learning through recitation and computation, to what I would call “disposal knowledge, where we look up and use information without actually absorbing and retaining that knowledge..

As a social media person, I was tempted to defend our honor against this savage attack.  My only problem was that Keller is essentially right.  When the computers are down, the cash registers silent, and the heat is on, too many of us say “I can’t do anything without my computer.” Continue reading