Information. We’re addicted to it. And we have incredible access to it.
A ballgame score? A chi-square test? Weather in a particular zip code? Treatment options for psoriasis? Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rainman? Directions to a specific street address in a specific city in a specific country? Particulars of the most esoteric kind—all available on the net. Things that would have been virtually impossible to locate, find, or identify a decade ago are within finger-reach today.
Laptops, tablets, smartphones. Google, Bing, and Wikipedia. Information sources outside the finite confines of our skulls. External brains. To keep us from forgetting all that stuff—mostly trivia, inanities, and minutiae.
But some things we must remember.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
This external brain deal is not entirely new. In days past (and perhaps even now) our companions, parents, teachers, etc., served as sources of information from without our bodies. Somebody knew what we were seeking, and we simply tapped into their brains.
And that’s true about remembering God as well. In a community of believers, we remind one another about who he is and what he has done. Especially the future generation, our kids.
… tell to the generation to come
the praises of the Lord,
And His strength and His wondrous works
that He has done.
For He established a testimony in Jacob
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers
That they should teach them
to their children,
That the generation to come might know,
the children to be born,
That they may arise and
tell them to their children,
That they should
put their confidence in God
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments.
These days online search engines, internet archives, encyclopedias have become the first recourse for information of every kind.
Complaints have been raised galore about how our thinking patterns have changed—for the worse—since we don’t need to retain all that information in our sulci and gyri of our cerebral cortices. In fact, researchers have shown empirically that believing the information will be available easily elsewhere enhances memory not about the information or data itself, but where and how that information may be accessed. Often our memories prioritize not the “what” of memory, but the “where,” especially when we expect the “what” to remain continuously available, as we wont to expect with online access. It’s all on the web! So, more than remember the actual details of the item, we are more likely to remember where to find those details. Thus internet and all its fractal arms and appendages serve us as external memory storage devices that may be accessed at will and as necessary. Whenever. Wherever.
But to remember God, we must go to the most reliable source, the “external brain” par excellence.
I shall delight in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word.
The processes and practices of human memory are adapting to new computing and communication technology. One writer declared that we are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools; we know not the datum of information itself, but where to find it. Of course, this depends on being constantly wired and online—a possibility that has become reality in most places.
Constantly wired and online … with God.
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
I shall remember
the deeds of the LORD;
Surely I will remember
Your wonders of old.
And pass it on!