The generation that had information, but no context. Butter, but no bread. Craving, but no longing.
—Meg Wolitzer, The Uncoupling, quoted by Bill Keller in the NYT speculating on and lamenting the effect of all this new media on our minds, not the least of which might be said to impinge upon our memories. The devices that support and externalize our memories aren’t crutches. They’re a persistent illustration of our failings compared to a more perfect vessel. Their lesson is one of learned helplessness. Why even try to remember? Why try to improve? When there exists something better and available immediately at hand.