In learning, do we lose something?

Published March 23, 2006

I’ve just realised that for the longest time, I haven’t had that feeling of suddenly working out the answer to a question. You know what I’m talking about, when you’re watching a film and you go “Who’s that, what have they been in?” or if you’re just having a conversation and realise you don’t know the answer to something, but later on, the penny drops.

I went through a period (I think it’s called growing up), where I had a lot of these moments. I would suddenly understand the meaning to those well known sayings, or I would suddenly understand what Dirty Dancing was all about (even though I’d been watching it for years, it’s actually about more than just dancing!). My mum will tell you, sometimes we went for walks and the penny dropped so often, we thought it was hailing.

But these days, there’s none of that. We sit watching a film, I recognise a face, and I just ask Mr C, who pulls his laptop close to hand and types the name into Google, or IMDB or one of the many other searchable sites out there. There is nothing the internet doesn’t know. Google can tell you the answer to anything.

This is, of course, fantastic news, but I can’t help wondering if it spoils some of the fun of trying to remember. One night, while I was at a sleepover with a friend, we could not place a particular person that we’d spotted on TV. Had they been in a film or another program? We thought and thought, and eventually gave up. In the middle of the night, I woke up and shouted the name of the film. My friend woke up, knew exactly what I was talking about, and then we both went back to sleep, satisfied that our sub-conscious could stop thinking for us. We laughed about it in the morning, it was a good moment.

← Previous There are two types of people in society
Next → What a difference a fortnight makes