The other day a friend was showing me some old photographs.
This made me realise how efficiently we can, now, record our past and present. Till about 100 years ago we could only record our past using text and audio. Then came the camera (the non-experimental version) which was followed by the video camera. This allowed us to record our lives in motion and colour. This created a ‘visual’ history. But taking photographs and making videos was not an easy task till digital cameras came along.
This opened the floodgates of visual information. Now anyone could take and re-take photographs as many times as they wanted. With modern digital cam-coders we can record each and every moment of our life.
We are creating, for the generations to follow, a visual record of our times.
But is this a good thing?
Is it a good thing to have an increasingly detailed record of our past? Does it hold us back and prevent us from moving on? Does it help us cling on to old things?
I think it depends on what kind of a person you are and what kind of a situation you are in. This ability to examing and re-examine our past is both a good thing as well as a bad thing.
Where earlier the natural process of memory degradation lead to people forgetting trauma as well as happy moments these days due to external memory aids (like photographs and videos) things remain with us.
In fact earlier normal photographs used to fade and degrade with age. Now with digital photos they remain the same and only problems with storage can destroy them. So these keep both good and bad memories alive.
Also if we are honest with ourselves we will admit that for most situations and people the associated memories are not all happy and cheerful. It depends on our frame of mind whether we remember good things or bad.
But the question remains… is it better to forget naturally or to remember.
If you forget then you obviously forget both good and bad things. If you remember, again you remember both good things as well as bad things….