Before the times of touch screens, computers, and mobile devices there were typewriters and blackboards. Before those were pencil, pen, and paper. And before those, we chiseled carefully chosen life lessons into stone; testing the ages of time, and maintain not only our memory, but our morals.
But even before then, we relied only on a small circle of ourselves, a roaring fire and the gift of human speech to preserve our most precious parables to our future generations. Through oral tradition man memorized great epics and poems that told of heroism, hurt, heaven and hell. We were all great story tellers and teachers for one another, inspiring our little ones with human allegory we all shared, and wanted to be a part of. Over time we have obsessively documented our stories, abandoning our inner historian and actor with the false trust that written form will last forever. But, nothing lasts forever.
In the technologic age, instead of listening to each other, we listen to the television or radio–a talking box made of wire telling lies–with no heritage, home town hero, or great-grandfather. Instead of memorizing stories and jokes to tell our children, we plug their precious heads into hand-held games so they can win, lose, cry, and forget it all to mindlessly do it again the next day. Instead of learning to play an instrument or memorize lyrics we download, upload, steal, and zip an infinite playlist–all of which we can’t possibly listen to and thoroughly enjoy in a lifetime.
To learn, to truly understand the gift we as humans have been given to communicate, it would do us well to memorize tales that tell of moment to moment miracles. We should listen to the words spoken by our elders, not our ear buds. Repeat legends and jokes that inspire tears of joy and laughs of lament.
Let us not make the sad, foolish mistake of forgetting to remember.