week 4 “Global Mnemotechnics”—Globalising Memory, Thinking and Action

This week, we looked at memory & mnemotechnics. ‘The extended mind’ reading by David Chalmers, argues that cognitive processes aren’t all in the head. Today, we’ve got so much technology that exists that enhances our ability to ‘remember’. So much so, that you can say technology pretty much dictates the way we live our day to day lives. What would we be without our iphones? that has our to-do lists? or our contact numbers? without access to the internet?

To help myself understand this issue better – this week I wrote down everything I did, as a way of showing that memory is technologically-driven. So I’ve discovered my mnemotechnologies consist of my iphone, laptop, desktop computer, diaryplanner and ipod. They all act as a giant USB for me, its like having an ‘extended mind’ as you will – and  providing me with extra storage for my memory. As human beings, we are limited to how big our capacity is to store memories in. These technologies enable us to store & free our memory for further information. My phone reminds me of errands i need to run eg ‘buy work shoes’ – my alarm wakes me up every day – & my diary planner lets me know that I have to do 3 blogs by the end of this uni week! I actually left my phone at home this week, and I had uni AND work that day. It was a complete struggle to get through the day, not only did I forget what lecture I had on because I didnt have my phone to look at my timetable – I went to work at the wrong time because I forgot exactly when I started.. it was a bit chaotic and I never felt so disorganised being without my ‘memory aids’. Considering that we live in such chaotic environments these days, ‘mnemotechnologies’ are necessary and I believe, help us SURVIVE in this crazy media world.

While these technologies enable us to lead easier lives by means of organisation – the Brain Blogger article explores the concept of brain washing. It is true I guess, that we are swept up into a media world by means of what we choose to look at or surround ourselves  in on a daily basis.The media is collectively showing us what we need to think about that day, the newspapers show us what is most newsworthy on any given day and social networking sites and other forums like radio and magazine is constantly telling us what we should be thinking about. Is it serious enough to to label it as ‘brain washing?’ Perhaps, but to an extent – it is quite accurate. We are growing up in a generation of ever-advancing technology and we come to rely on the media excessively – for information and news, for a sense of purpose in our days. There is no hiding from it – we live in a technologically driven, media environment and we have already adapted to it through our excessive use of technologies.

Pamoukaghlian, Veronica (2011) ‘Mind Games: Science’s Attempts at Thought Control’, Brainblogger.com, December 28 <http://brainblogger.com/2011/12/28/mind-games-sciences-attempts-at-thought-control/>


Chalmers, David (2009) ‘The Extended Mind Revisited [1/5], at Hong Kong, 2009’, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8S149IVHhmc>



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