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Monday, September 14th, 2009
5:08p - Brainloading is Fundamental
This post from fadethecat has been making me think about the way I read. (Not very deeply at all--I envy fadethecat and artbroken the deeper reading they describe.)

That led me by the usual train of digressions to the following thought experiment:

Suppose that in the recognizable future, scientific understanding of memory formation has progressed to the point that we're capable of implanting memories of a text.
In a few minutes, you can get artificial memories that are comparable to the memories you would have formed by careful, thorough study of the text. You can recite memorable passages, recall details of good bits, and understand subtleties of the development of themes.
Other than the reduced time cost, the costs and risks are comparable to those of reading.

Would you want to get texts brainloaded that way, or read those texts in the traditional way? Are there circumstances that affect your answer?

For technical texts, like programming books or RPG materials, I'm all for the brainloading.
Similarly, for most of the books I was assigned to read in college classes, I'd be happy to get the knowledge implanted as quickly as possible.

But there are some books that I read for an emotional effect. I'm not sure that the feeling of dramatic tension and resolution would be satisfactory if it was only encountered as a memory.
And experiencing erotica only as a memory instead of "live" just seems weird and unsatisfying.

What if the "text" isn't a book or a movie, but something like a gourmet meal? (Ignoring questions of nutrition; this is just about the experience.) I'm not even sure what my answer is there.

I tend to believe that once a thing has happened, its only residue is in my memories... but apparently I'm drawing some distinction of things that I want to experience instead of just remembering. I'm having trouble explaining this distinction, even to myself.

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