Today I learned from Benedict Carey on the NYTimes that "The Older Mind May Just Be a Fuller Mind."
"It’s not so much that the mental faculties of older people are rapidly declining, it’s that their databases are fuller", a new study suggests. I was especially reassured by his closing statement: "It’s not that you’re slow. It’s that you know so much." I knew that!
I'm happy to see that science is finally agreeing with what I've been saying for a couple of decades at least: My mental faculties are not declining! It's just that my databases are fuller and it takes longer to bring up some of the info stored in my mind - that, and I think that the brain only holds so much, like a bowl or jar. When the container is full and we add even a tiny drop more information, something spills out. And the more we add, the more that spills out and is lost.
New technology is to blame for this. My mind was doing just fine and my memory was always excellent. Then came my first computer, and I had to learn a lot of new things. As soon as I began learning new things, I found that I couldn't remember some things from the past - simple things, such as "where did I hide the cookies so I wouldn't eat them all at once" or "what did we have for dinner last night?" My databases were beginning to overflow.
Then I got an iPhone - the most diabolical invention ever created - with all those little squares and symbols and iTunes wanting to sell you music, and the invisible "Thing" that keeps trying to rewrite words when I try to write using those tiny keys too small for a human finger, and....
At times like these I recall nostalgically the old black phone with the voice on the other end of the line. "Number, please."