If you are a fan of Steven Universe, then you might be familiar with a character named Opal. Opal is a fusion and “Giant Women” named by Steven between Amethyst and Pearl and has the traits of Agility and Accuracy; however, she has one trait that makes her a unique and funny character: She is forgetful.
I have come to relate with Opal somedays and I created this little theory known as the Opal Paradox. The Opal Paradox is the theory of; “There are days where I knew I have an important project that’s due tomorrow, then suddenly I forget about that project I was working on because I got distracted by technology, work, or by other distractions.” Long story short; The main reason that I forgot to submit this blog by 12:30 PM and missed my deadline.
A lot of us have those moments of forgetfulness, like where our car keys and/or wallet went to or figuring out what day and/or time it is today. We can even relate to certain movies and television characters like Dory from Finding Nemo, Forgetful Jones from Sesame Street, or Opal from Steven Universe because of their forgetfulness and the smile that they put on our faces and make us laugh. So, this brings on the question, why has society become more forgetful? And how do we prevent this from happening?
Being forgetful is an interesting topic because it happens a lot more than you think, and everybody does it. Harvard Health Publishing published a great article talking about the seven normal memory problems that people have, it consists of:
However, this isn’t the norm today. Our current generation has technology like mobile phones, computers, and even smart home devices like Amazon Echo to help with adding a friend’s phone number or finding an address, setting reminders, adding important dates like your birthday to your calendar, and researching how to spell certain words or find answers to math problems easily.
The problem with this is that we have become so dependent on using technology for these things that are short-term memories are becoming impaired and because of this it’s hard for us to retain information and that even “a break in our attention can sweep its contents from our mind” according to Nicholas Carr who wrote an article about the internet rewiring our brains and shattering our focus.
So how do we prevent the Opal Paradox? Simple, by putting the technology down and not having it in our faces constantly for 24 hours, as well as writing dates, reminders, notes, and contacts in day planners, paper and/or on post-it notes will help improve our memories for the long run, However you decide to work on improving your memory, you’ll short term and maybe even your long term memory will be proud of you.
(Bonus Read about Technology and Memory from the Huffington Post)