Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fiction. Show all posts

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Art of Memory: Jorge Luis Borges and "Funes the Memorious"

Access.  Access.  Access.  

Yesterday in class we explored digital history.  The plethora of digital documentation was on everyone's minds. We discussed how archivists will try to preserve and historians of the future will try to sort through all the video clips, recordings, tweets, texts, status updates, social media profiles, emails, blogs, etc. that we all produce.

Someone said people don't need to be educated formally anyone -- they can just go to the internet and become experts on topics that interest them. (I just resisted the urge to snort and harrumph.) Another person exhorted that people don't need to read anymore, don't need to know anything -- because everything is always accessible at the touch of a button.

I said I thought they needed more skills, not fewer, to make sense of all the information to which they have access.

It led to a conversation about how to make meaning from all this "stuff," how information requires interpretation, how the challenge of navigating material has replaced the challenge of accessing it. What is useful? What can be trusted?  How can we make sense of it all?  And how can we avoid the trap in which sifting through information -- consuming information --  comes at the expense of actually doing anything about the things that matter to us?

It reminded me of Borges. Well, actually, it reminded me of  Borges' Ireneo Funes.