Mayer-Schönberger and Forgetting – Long posts

Mayer-Schönberger and Forgetting

@pnut developerd, #🐝 keeper
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@33MHz on Pnut

A couple months ago I wanted to prepare a somewhat scholastic lecture about privacy, the modern Internet, distance in media gatekeepers, a lot of interrelated topics. I was struggling to find concise and useful ways to talk about the ways I felt towards modern media.

To prepare, I read Jaron Lanier's You Are Not a Gadget again, and looking for more resources. I found a couple more books - one of them is a book I've been reading called Delete, by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger.

As I read, I have been live-posting to Pnut with the tag #schoenberger: (I should've used #schönberger!)

I actually can't speak very well to the book... It's so far hard to read. It's easy language to read, it just feels like it doesn't have much to say. I feel like it is framing things around the brain as if there were no argument either way. It is making claims about its own objectivity; this is how the body works, not how "I feel about things".

Despite that misgiving, the book has succeeded in changing how I think about the brain's memory. My posts reflect that: It's not a memory bank that you can take individual files from, it's a pool that you can dip a cup into. Even if you dump the cup of memory back into the pool, the waves reorganize the pool, and some of the water will still stay in your cup—and some of the microplastics, oil from your hand, whatever the cup involved—will go into the pool.

I am convinced that our memories are maintained largely by reinforcement, convincing ourselves that we have sanity, clarity, and conviction that our memories are like data files, objective and graspable.

This hasn't given me a great tool for talking about media, yet. It's a footnote in the conversation. I might be able to build something off of it (hey, hopefully this book does!), but for now it gives me respect and trepidation towards our brainz.

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