(Washington Post) Viktor Mayer-Schönberger—Why we need to let our online memories go

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As you sat across the Thanksgiving table basking in the warmth of family and the aroma of chestnut stuffing, most likely you did not remember the vicious comment your Aunt Jennifer made about you a few years back. You didn’t dwell on Uncle Julio’s unkind reference to your drinking last Christmas or what cousin Duwan said about your girlfriend during that dreadful vacation at the shore. At family holidays, we tend to embrace our relatives even after months or years of not having seen one another, regardless of the quarrels we have had in the past.

We may chalk up our generous forgiveness to the festive spirit of the holiday, but the real reason has nothing to do with Thanksgiving; it is because of how we humans remember — and forget. Cognitive experts tell us that forgetting is fundamental to how we make sense of the world. Forgetting helps us survive, by making sure we don’t dwell in the past.

In the digital age, that mechanism of our humanity is under threat.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingHistoryPsychologyScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyPastoral Theology

Posted November 28, 2012 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Sarah wrote:

I honestly don’t recognize the opening two paragraphs as “reality.”

I’ve found that people recall and resent and retaliate for slights and vicious comments and unkind references and various other incidents years and years into the future, all without the aid of Facebook or blogs. Human beings rarely “forget” the wickedness of others; it’s only *their own wickedness* that they are likely to forget. “Dwelling in the past” is exactly “human”—it’s what we do naturally.

So the overall thesis of this article seems to me to be dull and void.

November 28, 12:11 pm | [comment link]
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