Sorry, Could You Repeat That

If you teach a man to fish, he’ll never go hungry,
If you teach a fish to man, he’ll probably forget whatever that entails within a few moments.

I remember the pain of dial-up Internet, the hassle of not being able to be on the phone simultaneously, and the sound the modem made while connecting which always reminded my younger self of a robot gargling mouthwash.

People of my age group and older no doubt have similar experiences and memories stored somewhere in their brains, yet they all lose their minds when a website or app lags for more than a second on their smartphone.

Somewhere between the Mount Selective and Mount Semantic memories seem to fall into a gaping chasm of forgetfulness. We all know that they are there. We can recall them if necessitated. But the location of the chasm itself was misplaced long ago on a map stored in a box in your uncle’s basement.

Last year 89 people were killed in a Parisian theater, the world mourned and swore that such violence and terrorism would no longer be ignored.

Today over 90 people were murdered between three such attacks in Turkey, Egypt, and Somalia, yet the world stands mostly silent.

Regardless of the saddening fact that an incident like this is more likely to gain media traction if the victims are white westerners, in my mind this seemingly apathetic phenomena is almost entirely independent of people’s religion, race or sexual orientation.

It appears to be more about a growing global trend in forgetfulness.

Now what was i talking about? Ahh yes, kids these days with their HipHop and their iHop and their iPods.

Once, after having explained the statistical improbability of our being alone in the universe to a friend, I asked him whether it changed his opinion on anything. He said that whatever is happening in space isn’t what is happening on Earth; In other words it doesn’t directly affect him, so why should he care?

If you are travelling on a poorly illuminated highway late at night, and you cannot see a single car near you, would information of the existence of other cars – despite their being slightly further away – not be crucial?

People are concerned with what is in front of them and with whatever they deem relevant to their lives.

As a culture, we seem to have developed the attention span of an unusually forgetful goldfish when it comes to any issue that doesn’t continually affect us on a daily basis.

But maybe this apparently anterograde pseudo-amnesia is the only thing that allows us to move on with our lives, to wake up every morning, drink a cup of democracy and be thankful that we live a coffee.

About the Author
Born and raised in Australia, Kovi is currently studying Physics at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is a research assistant in the field of Radio Astronomy at the Racah Institute of Physics. A strong believer in truth, science, education, and pizza, most of Kovi's days are spent teaching, studying, stargazing, or procrastinating about doing one of the three.
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