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Last Bastion of ‘The Glancer’

July 23, 2010

“Learning at young age is like etching on stone, while learning at old age is like writing on water.” – Arabic Proverb

Recently, I’ve developed a growing concern that, like my shoe-size, my memory has stopped maturing. Scientific studies purport that this is not the case. But the fear remains. The truth is, I worry that while looking at so much aggregated, simplified, synergised ‘stuff’ all day, my brain has got lazy and rarely feels the capacity to haul its squishy mush off the floor of my cranium and begin to do some real ‘rigorous’ thinking.

Why is it I can’t seem to remember song lyrics, or when I do I soon forget. I’ve been to Desolation Row five times on the way to work this week, yet still can’t get a whole verse out without ending up down a mental cul-de-sac.

World Record Breaking memory masters often site visual techniques to help them keep the deets in their nuts. One notable memory Jedi, Ron White, suggests that when he meets a woman named Lisa he thinks of The Mona Lisa and when introduced to a guy named for instance, Steve, he recalls a stove. The pictures and the connections do the real thinking.

To improve any memory, the brain needs nourishment. The right diet and lifestyle will help, but it needs to be kept active with visual techniques and rigour. I’m too often busy or on the move or consuming simplified stuff (because there’s too much ‘stuff’ out there) to pick up a copy of War & Peace and really get my brain into top gear.

[I do a lot of ‘glancing’. I’m a ‘glancer’. When did I become a ‘glancer’?]

Whether it’s the Metro in the real world or Twitter online, this kind of stuff may lead to deeper dives, but in themselves are just surface type for my lackadaisical brain cells. Is Facebook hindering my cerebral development? A lazy time trap that’s dumbed down my synapses?

Possibly. Which is why, the new Maphook app intrigues me. Part location-based mapper, part social network, the app allows you to pinpoint your location with sharable comments and links. The beauty of this is that it allows you to input location specific visual memories – a great visual and spatial vehicle for ‘recalling’. Maybe now I’ll be able to place a name, a face, an idea, a lyric, whatever; with a new social filing system that visualises the necessary connections for me.

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