- Charlie Friedman
- Saint Louis, MO
- United States
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Should we live in the moment or should we stop and take a picture? - Is it worth losing part of an experience in order to remember it?
Joshua Foer says, "Our lives are the sum of our memories". But remembering takes effort, and in trying to do so, we become distracted and we lose part of the experience we are having. For example, we can enjoy the sight of a beautiful mountain and be caught up awe in the moment, or we can enjoy a beautiful mountain and wonder how we are going to take a picture and show it to our friends. Is it worth losing part of the experience in order to better remember it in the days or years to come? Is it worth losing parts of future experiences by trying to remember those of the past?
(As a much broader question - and to use Daniel Kahneman's terms - what is more important: the experiencing self or the remembering self?)
One answer I've contemplated: What is important is not the memories we have but rather the quality of our experiences. Instead of focusing on the memory of an experience (by taking photos, making mental structures, writing things down, etc), we should strive to achieve a state of flow - a state in which we fully immerse ourselves in the present moment, undistracted by thoughts of the past or the future. By doing so, I believe we will find satisfaction in each experience in the present, rather than always looking to the satisfaction to be had in the future through our memories of the past.