Why am I starting a thought journal? When I read something or hear something inspirational or interesting, I like having a way to remember it so I can make connections to other things I come across, apply some new ideas or teachings to my daily life, and simply have a record of something that had an impact on me. I've been fascinated with the role of memory ever since reading the book Moonwalking with Einstein.
“How we perceive the world and how we act in it are products of how and what we remember...No lasting joke, invention, insight, or work of art was ever produced by an external memory...Our ability to find humor in the world, to make connections between previously unconnected notions, to create new ideas, to share in a common culture: All these essentially human acts depend on memory. Now more than ever, as the role of memory in our culture erodes at a faster pace than ever before, we need to cultivate our ability to remember.”
So how can we control what we remember? Can we choose which memories stay with us by what we cultivate and share?
“Once upon a time, memory was at the root of all culture, but over the last thirty millennia since humans began painting their memories on cave walls, we’ve gradually supplanted our own natural memory with a vast superstructure of external memory aids—a process that has sped up exponentially in recent years. Imagine waking up tomorrow and discovering that all the world’s ink had become invisible and all our bytes had disappeared. Our world would immediately crumble. Literature, music, law, politics, science, math: Our culture is an edifice built on externalized memories.”
I started this journal as an attempt to internalize my own personal External Memory, if you will. As I write things down, I read and reread, I refer back, make connections, and try to cultivate important readings and teachings into my memory. I am attempting to take a more active role in shaping how I view the world.