Remembering information takes a back seat for our ability to find information.
Long ago, your ability to remember information was a good indicator of your status. Go back far enough, and the ability to remember was the only way for humans to keep track of our own history. Many ancient civilizations tracked their heritage almost entirely through orally shared stories. It wasn’t until “recently” in human history which we began writing things down.
In terms of evolution we are still the same as we were before the written word. What’s changed? Our memories.
During our childhood and adolescence we are inundated with as much of the “story” of humanity as our elders can possibly squeeze into our heads. This history tends to be skewed based on the context of our specific nationality, but much of the information is the same.
We grow up learning the “memories” of those who came before us. Whether these memories are as drastic as how our civilization was founded, or as simple as how to use a toilet. A modern example would be the computer and keyboard. We weren’t inherently born to use these tools. We all must be learned in the ways of the modern world from birth.
In an ever growing, ever more complex society the ability to learn and retain information has been very valuable. Knowing everything there was to know about a singular subject meant you could be to go to resource for many others. Sometimes thousands of others.
It wasn’t too many decades ago that large companies would have floors of employees whose sole purpose was to find information for the higher ups. How much you knew was a good indicator of how far your career might take you.
Very recently in human history there has been an abrupt change to this “knowledge economy”. Now a growing chunk of the human population has a constantly connected device which at any time can access the entirety of human knowledge.
Making a career out of purely knowing facts isn’t quite so lucrative when any 12 year old can use google at the speed of typing.
Now, it seems, the real value comes from those who know how to find information and those who know how to put that information into practice. If you are capable of both finding information and putting it into practice then you are likely to succeed in this digital age.
How capable are you of both finding and taking action on information and knowledge?