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Have We Forgotten How to Remember?

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What are we without our memories?

Our unique human memories....

True, all living things have some sort of hard-coded memory mechanism...default...reflex...evolution imprinter...survival code....

And, I believe, that higher order life also possesses emotional memory -- often deep and moving and touchingly understandable by us...

But I would like to believe that, beyond thumbs and online shopping, what makes us unique in our identified universe is our ability not just to remember but from that memory to create new ones and more new ones, hopefully learning and growing along the way -- not in hard code, but in human code, the irrational, synapse jumping linkage of ideas; thoughts; emotions; passion and plain old feelings...

Needless to say in our always-on, never gone, digital world, memory has taken on spectrum of new meaning most of it cold, rational and linked in very clear and direct ways.

This weekend, being home in the United States (for a change) I along with the rest of the country am celebrating Memorial Day -- the annual holiday when the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces are remembered.

Most countries and even cultures have similar days of remembrance -- not surprising, as we have been at each other's throats since Cain and Abel, and there are often news events made when one memorial event steps on another -- usually has to do with who won and lost more so than who started and who defended...

As a kid I took the day very seriously -- my late grandfather, father and uncle were all veterans of different wars and we went to the parades and saluted and teared up at taps.

Today, in the US at least, it's all about storewide sales -- as so many holiday are....

But back to memory:

Some people think that we need a law that guarantees forgetfulness, a kind of selective memory switch that allows you to pick and choose what might or might not be linked with you forever while there are some who believe that their status propels them beyond the limitations that memory can impose -- politicians certainly top this list...although it seems that some professional sports team owners feel the entitlement as well...and that's a full story for another time...

What occurred to me is that on a day dedicated to memory I wanted to actually think about memory and its implications.

And I guess that where I netted out -- sparing you the long and torturous journey -- was that the real tragedy is that we are privileged and blessed to have all the memories of the world open to us (thank you, Arthur, for that thought) and we access them as we want; and we connect them as we can; and we manipulate them as we are want; and we mash them as we might; as we share them as we like -- but then we close our devices and forget....

Bottom line: We seem to keep forgetting Cain and Abel, despite the deepest memories the world has ever known.

How will we ever really change the world if we don't share and action that memory? Listen:

"I've given my life to the principle and the ideal of memory, and remembrance". Elie Wiesel


So maybe the answer is a world where memory is limitless -- we need to remember more, not less.

What do you think?