Brain Freeze

No, this one is not about ice cream or slush (if you don’t know what slush is, I disown you), although in hindsight, I would have liked it to  be.

Is Google Making Us Stupid? – Yes.

This is something I have been worrying about lately. My short term memory is still decent-ish, considering my extensive Indian education wherein I was periodically made to inhale and spit out information on demand, but I seem to be unable to recall at a later date much of the information I read on a daily basis ( I instead put in keywords into a handy little search bar and wait for the link which looks the closest to what I was thinking about.) When I want to recall names, quotes, news and information, my first  instinct is to snap my phone out and Google it. That’s it, using that search engine as a verb is the whole point. I Google extensively, Wikipedia most things, and Britannica my way out of doubts etc., all because I love the amount of information there is to available online, but to what avail, as my brain seems to retain naught but 1% of it all. When I was younger, without access to a mobile, I used to be able to rattle off tens of numbers of family and friends, but now other than about five, I don’t even bother. There were times when I had two mobile connections, and I didn’t even remember either of my own properly. This seems like as good a opportunity as any for an apology, I swear I meant to give my correct number, Red Cross, but I bungled it up all because technology made me careless.

Adding to this increasing depressing list of which ways I am stupider, I don’t remember names of some films I have watched & even liked, books I have read (I know I watch and read a lot of these, but still…) songs (forget lyrics… but, of course I remember all the songs, down to the sighs & dance steps, of all the boy bands from the ’90s) and names of paintings I like (again, other than dating to pre-smartphone era). I’ll be checking my Facebook friend list to remember the names of my friends next. I listen to my mother talk about things that happened in our lives, in history, and general knowledge literally on every conceivable topic, probably having gleaned the information from the same programmes on TV or news articles, but it’s shameful amazing how these bits of information are relayed with such clarity that I feel instantly gauche and stupid. I might know a lot more about fancy gadgets and bits of electronic trickery but about the world at large I am a total ignoramus, and hugely undependable as a source of information. Fortunately the Tell Me Whys and Lexicon Encyclopedia and David Attenborough’s shows and the ilk are still firmly embedded into my mind, thanks to pre-Google memory.

Now, on the other hand (yes, there is always a flip-side to all my faults, as I am near impossible to rattle for too long), Sherlock says (the Benedict Cumberbatch one, hence one must pay close attention) that there is no point to crowding one’s brain with random information which don’t serve any purpose. If the brain is to be used to its immediate available potential efficiently, it must be kept uncluttered of things one can access by other means. There is a lot of paraphrasing and body shielding going on here, but how I interpret Sherlock is my business 😀 I think this is the same reason why my mum doesn’t believe in retaining much of what I teach her about the laptop/BB for too long as it interferes with the way she prefers to store and access information. Sigh, but I can already see how people in my generation hardly have long interesting conversations organically between friends anymore. Either no one has the time or enough information in their brains to. Other than when there is a new grub spot, then everyone flocks to and makes an evening of it. Damn, this blog should have been about food! Damage!

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