There used to be a time when information junkies like us could read a book, watch a movie, or a TV show and the next day share all about the storyline with family, friends, or colleagues. In a fascinating article in The Atlantic by Julie Beck, "Why We Forget Most of the Books We Read and the Movies and TV Shows We Watch," we learn from Faria Sana, an assistant professor of psychology at Athabasca University in Canada: "Memory generally has a very intrinsic limitation. It's essentially a bottleneck."
We are living in a complicated media world. It doesn't matter whether you read a book quickly or slowly, watch TV series over time or binge watch them in one night, we are going to forget most of what they are about. All of us have a "forgetting curve" which is steepest after the first 24 hours following our experience of a media event or our learning of something new. In Beck's clever explanation: "For many, the experience of consuming culture is like filling up a bathtub, soaking in it, and then watching the water run down the drain. It might leave a film in the tub, but the rest is gone."
In this age of smart phones and fast Internet connections, "recall memory," the ability to summon something from your mind, is less necessary. All you need to remember is where to get that information online, or you can just ask Siri. As Beck reminds us: "There's not a sense that if you don't burn a piece of culture (from that book you are reading) into your brain, that it will be lost forever." Some approaches can help. For example, watching a program one episode at a time, rather than binge-watching will result in your remembering the storyline better.
Over the years, we have taken great pleasure in harvesting our memories by talking about our favorite books and films. As we age, it is getting more and more difficult to recall the details of storylines or scenes from stories and movies that moved us. Thank God for the Internet and the wealth of resources to bolster up and supplement our "forgetting curve." We are doing all we can to bring you spiritual resources that will do just that!