It’s the end of spring break already. I was on BearFacts yesterday researching about class registration when it occurred to me that they were telling me about picking college courses and planning out a schedule for the first time for courses that will be taught by strangers hundreds of miles away. By that time, everything will have changed and everyone will have moved away. Most of my spring break I spent shut-in cramming physics because of my ridiculously short time frame, so I haven’t really seen anyone for a week now. For brief periods, I could almost pretend that everything and everyone outside of my textbook and notes didn’t exist, as if the big change had already happened. Right then and there, I realized that it’d be no different were I studying three hundred miles north in a smaller room on a smaller desk with no memento of the past aside from the desktop computer I would bring with me. I’ve also started reading this book, Norwegian Wood, and in it there’s this guy who is forgetting all the memories he made from his youth not only because he’s aging, but also because he never expected that he’d ever have to remember the scenery and faces of those particular days, so far in his future. You could disregard him and say that memories forgotten are not worth remembering, but in pursuit of greater happiness, it’s indisputable that reviving better days brings a sort of precious amusement that is so easily lost. Maybe in fifty years or perhaps just ten years, this week of recess won’t make much of an impression like shadows in the mind eroded by many abrasive sunsets. However, that doesn’t mean these days are meaningless or ill-spent 1. There is necessary contrast between difficult work and childish diversions or bitter valleys and well-deserved highs. This inclines most people to find reasonable that memorable recollections must likewise contrast with uneventful self-improvement2, when really there is no necessary relation here.
Some of our most interesting days are also the least noteworthy. When nothing memorable happens, we additionally tend not to write nor speak about it, and in this fashion, memories are soon overshadowed and abandoned. This regrettable loss is especially pervasive today when so many different things demand our attention at once. Keeping a journal and writing letters become chores, whereas they are meant to be cathartic as depositories for fleeting thoughts. On the other side, a greater degree of complexity to our society also enables us to communicate and record with such ridiculous convenience. In Code Geass there’s this girl whose memories are regularly rewritten against her will, so she keeps a day to day picture journal that she carries around like a phone. The advantage to this is that digital devices can be acceptably used in most social contexts 3 so they take very little extra effort and instead repurpose a small amount of time and attention that is prodigiously wasted at social gatherings anyway. It’s like a private twitter. I’ve set up a similar system with MMS on my cell phone and a private blog and email account over the Internet. There are times when writing in a moleskin or typing to a blog is more appropriate, but there certainly is an unfilled niche for a more dedicated device to help humans remember the easily forgettable.
- Needless studying and reading seem like the farthest thing from present amusement for some, but in reality, the illusion of working toward important goals or passing time productively can be hedonistic to the thoughtful. ↩︎
- Uneventful may be pleasing, depending on how you feel about excesses and moderation. ↩︎
- They hardly even interfere with regular verbal communication. It’s rumored that one time in the past this was considered rude. Har har. ↩︎