Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

MEMORY OVERLOAD
Is it possible to overload our memory banks? Just compare what is in your memory with an ancestor who lived before the industrial revolution. He would have lived in a small community, travelled very, very little and known perhaps two or three hundred people.
18th c Man

If he could read it would be just the bible or occasionally a single sheet newspaper. No television, no radio, virtually no music apart from folksongs and maybe a strolling player. Traffic would have consisted of the horse and cart and people would most likely find their way about by pub and shop signs rather than street and place names as many would be unable to read. Even if every sight and sound was recorded in his memory, at the end of the day it would be insignificant compared to the things you store.

Contrast his memories with what you feed into you memory every day. Hundreds of people, TV, radio, recordings, mobile phones, computers, advertising, road signs, newspapers, magazines. If you drive, the tremendous number of images and instructions you take in over even the shortest journey. You may think that you don’t store everything but think about it. You can remember your way to work; to the supermarket; the lay out of the supermarket aisles; what all the road signs mean. You can bring to mind hundreds of names and faces of people you have met; if you switch on the TV in the middle of an old black and white movie you can instantly tell if you have seen it before, even when and with whom.

So how much memory can you store? Some say there is no limit, others try to compare it to computer.
Hard Drive 1957

I don’t know if it is relevant but in 1956 IBM launched the 305 RAMAC, the first computer with a hard disk drive. The hard drive weighed over a ton and stored 5 MB of data. My tiny external computer hard drive is less than the size of a bar of soap and holds one terabyte that is 1,048,576 MBs.

I have a feeling that
ALL the memories are there, most of us just don’t know the right key to press to bring them to the fore. Some people can - for instance television quiz experts. They seem to have the facility to store information in well organised pigeon holes which they can access without effort. Maybe as we get older we feel we have lost our memories. I think they are still all there, we have simply lost the keys with which to open the boxes.

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