What Effect Would TOTALLY Perfect Memory Have?

jupiterbowl scot at wam.umd.edu
Thu Sep 5 15:57:05 EST 1996


In article <1996Sep5.113321.27119 at jarvis.cs.toronto.edu>,
Eric Manshun Choi <emc at madrox> wrote:
>I am in the process of writing a science fiction story in which one of
>the characters has the ability to literally remember EVERYTHING that he
>sees or reads.  For example, if he was walking down the street, he would
>remember how many cracks there were in the sidewalk, the number of cars
>that passed him, the make and color of each car, the license plates on
>the cars, how many people were in each car and what they looked like, etc.
>
>How would such an ability affect his mind?  Would he be able to cope, or
>would the overload of information drive him insane?
>
>Any input would be much appreciated.  Thank you very much!
>
>-- 
>Eric M. Choi                    | Author  of  "From a Stone",   in   the
>University of Toronto           | September issue of SCIENCE FICTION AGE
>Institute for Aerospace Studies | magazine.  Now available at bookstores
>emc at sdr.utias.utoronto.ca       | and newsstands. 


Hi Eric,

Check the short story by Juan Luis Borges "Funes the Memorius".  This is
exactly the premise of his piece: total and complete recall.  It's been
some time but I remember it was a fascinating story.  

Funes gains his "gift" after an accident and in the face of the
overwhelming amount of data he accumulates, begins to categorize his
memories by various dimensions and the extent of the work implies 2
epistemological questions (my take on the story inserted here): 1) if you
remember everything you have to create a new language to describe them;
and 2) if what you do in your life is remember and categorize everything,
when do you experience?  

You can find "Funes the Memorius" in an anthology of Borges' stories: 
_Labyrinths_, which has a bunch of other great stories in which Borges
pokes fun at the way we learn and know things. 

Your story sounds like a great idea, good luck! 

Scot
-- 
\----/                         \----/                         \----/
 ||||   Scot McNary             ||||   scot at wam.umd.edu        ||||
 ||||   Graduate Student, UMCP  ||||   (bethany too)           ||||
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