Critical Analysis of The End of Remembering Essay by Joshua Foer

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Memory is something that no one wants to let go off. Reminding ourselves of memories can be either good or bad, but no matter the kind of memory you have all memories are valuable. The essay The End of Remembering by Joshua Foer discusses broadly and intellectually, the art of the memory and its progressive advancement through which it has made new inventions and discoveries. The main purpose of this essay is to give information and explain how many advances have been created to simplify the process of remembering. It has also explained the average individual of the original process of remembering. The End of Remembering is a chapter in the book Moonwalk with Einstein. Joshua Foer uses mental techniques, proven facts, and studies, for example, the memory palace to analyze the historical scenarios of how the art of remembering has come to be.

Foer starts up his essay by remembering a time when there was nothing to do with the thoughts except remember them. Anything that has to be preserved had to be preserved by memory. Foer tries to explain that there were no technology devices to help human beings with the act of recalling. It had to be done from remembrance. He begins to expound further on how the times have changed, and people do not rely on their memory for remembrance. He says that back then everything had to be memorized because There were no alphabets to transcribe them in, no paper to set them down upon (Foer, 137). In todays world, we rely so much on equipment and technology to know everything for us. This leads to us recalling less and less each day because our minds are not being challenged to store and remember information. He goes on to remind the audience on scriptio continua, Words that ran together with no punctuation or spaces on a long scroll was called scriptio continua because it was continuous. The script was complicated to read, let alone to understand. They were often read aloud from top to bottom and later remembered to be able to read the text fluently otherwise it wouldnt sound proper when learning for the first time (Foer, 140). Foer tries hard in this essay to expose the negative impacts of our most utopian dreams for technology. The social media, for example, Google, Apple, and Amazon are corrupting our minds, and he argues that they are trampling the longstanding liberal values, especially those of intellectual privacy and properties. We have to reclaim our souls own authority over how we engage with the world. It is imperative to make use of your brain in trying to remember most of the important details instead of saving or storing them electronically. He discusses the memory and how it is easy to forget things. Way back people had to do everything for you to remember everything by heart and do things the complicated way. He explains how visuals and other elements can help one quickly unlock their memory. When concluding the chapter Foer describes a man called Gordon Bell who used his virtual memory to place things such as scanned documents and digital recordings until that day he wanted to access. Foer main aim is to encourage people to make use of their brains in remembering details.

The reason why people rely more on technology is that they do now want to forget. Foer addressed this issue by stating, It is forgetting, not remembering, that is the essence of what makes us human. To make sense of the world, we must filter it. To think is to forget. He is encouraging people that it is human nature to forget and therefore there is no harm in forgetting. The more you practice on remembering, the more your brains expand and get used to getting most of the things that you have read, heard or seen. Memory is like a spiderweb that catches new information. The more it catches, the bigger it grows. And the bigger it grows, the more it catches, (Foer,). We are so privileged that in the modern times one can own a book and read to increase his or her memory. This was the opposite in the ancient times as it was scarce for one to get a book and if you did you would remember what you have read. They tried to remember what they have learned by taking a picture of the book in their mind and not using their phones like today. One has to exercise his mind by memorizing the title and how the cover page looked like. We have the advantage because now books are very cheap and do not have as many chapters unlike before books were very costly and weighed a ton (Foer, 144). Technology has made everything more comfortable for us; the modern books have indexes. Therefore, we can skip to the exact text we are interested in instead of having to read from top to bottom. With this kind of privilege, we do not have to re-read if we lost our place or even looked away.

I have a habit of continually forgetting the answers to questions people have asked me which I knew and then Id later remember the answers a few hour later or even days afterward. Foer explains that you do not need to know where a particular memory is to find it. It simply turns up or doesnt when you need it. He is trying to tell his audience that the things we find strange about our memory like forgetting something and remembering it, later on, is normal and it makes us who we are therefore we should not try to find solutions to our human nature. The other issue with the human beings is that we value quantity of what we are reading more than we value the quality. Foer said that We value quantity of reading over the quality of reading, (Foer, 148). This statement is very true because the more you read a book, the more you know and understand. Sometimes I find myself reading and re-reading certain books that I love to remember and re-create it. This is good for the mind because as each day passes we tend to forget more and remember less so, we should constantly be reminding ourselves of the things we do not want to forget. Gordon Bell had initially said that Each day that passes I forget more and remember less and this I agree. There are a lot of things that one used to know, but now you have no clue. For example, when a song I used to listen to all the time on the radio and soon I have forgotten all the words to the song.

Personally, I have been trying so hard to put aside electronics. Whenever I am around my friends, I ensure that I use my phone sparingly to preserve the unique moment we have. At work since we are not allowed to use mobile phones, I have come to realize that I have been making memories with my co-workers and enjoying their company. I am trying to live against our generation where most people store their mind externally instead of internally. If we did not use electronics to save essential numbers, dates, thoughts and much more, then our memory would become stronger. They become stronger because we recall and retain the memories, partners, and numbers over and over again. Imagine waking up tomorrow that all of the worlds ink had become invisible and all our bytes had disappeared. Our world would immediately crumble. Literature, music, science, law, math: Our culture is an edifice built of externalized memories, (Foer,19). This quote shows that Foer had similar ideas when he stated that. This is very scary when you think how much the world depends on technology on simple things like just storing information in their head. A book known as Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr explains to us the importance of being able to hold onto your memories. The story is about a woman who has dementia and is unable to remember anything. This includes her caregiver and the fact that she cannot forget that he passed away a few years back (Doerr, 10). She makes little notes to herself to remember a memory even the lightest one. She has a significant and robust urge to remember that she starts to recall something small. What we can learn from that story is that it is critical for us not to take our ability to recognize memories for granted but instead to cherish and keep them for remembrance before they are completely lost inside of us.

We need to change our lives after reading the essay by Joshua Foer. In school, we need to try and memorize the subjects we learn. By remembering these questions, we are expanding our memories creating room for one to recall what they have learned in class. Everything in school is based on the fundamental principles that one has learned and therefore when dealing with the school work it is better to build on using logical reasoning instead of memorizing. Logic reasoning will help one to recall something because it is connective and it will keep things together in mind. In the real sense, we are what we remember. Foers book has inspired me to move forward in recapturing one of the ancient skills and delights, that of recognizing. I have learned to care about my memory by taking good care of it to improve its ability in capturing and recalling as much information as I need. The End Remembering by Joshua Foer is huge fun to read with funny chronicles of drunk and nerdy behaviors. But what does Foer gain from his capacity for total recall under testing conditions? A good book and of course a better memory. He goes out for dinner with friends and afterward does not forget where he parked his car; he goes home by subway having overlooked that he drove to lunch in the first place (Foer, 150).


Work Cited

Doerr, and Antony. Memory Wall: Short Stories. NewYork: Scribner, 2011. Print.

Foer, Joshua. Moonwalking With Einstein. London: Allen Lane, 2011. Print.


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