- Dec 2021
When the user stores his thoughts in his own filing cabinet, these thoughts are no longer his own but those of his filing cabinet. In turn, the machine that gathers and reproduces excerpts is, and remains, a ‘black box’. It is not simply another Ego for enacting a user’s soliloquy but a true Alter Ego with whom the user communicates. Additionally, when the machine is started, the user does not simply refresh his memory; the filing cabinet actually speaks. To achieve this practical outcome, the card index must be provided with a ‘life of its own’ (Eigenleben) which should be as independent of the life of its educator as possible.30 In this sense, the card index functions as a ‘secondary memory’ in Stübel’s terms. This result raises some questions which justify the present article. Is there a socio-structural reason why such an improbability became possible? Is there a trend, in early and late modern society, toward an externalization and technologizing of social memory? And what insight can we gain into intellectual history?
I'm not completely sure I can agree with this. Perhaps I'm missing part of his point?
There is a quirky relationship here to the idea of a personbyte, the complete amount of information and knowledge a person can have. Even misty memories that a person can remember or be reminded of are part of this knowledge. Perfect recall isn't necessary as some things can potentially be reconstituted with some thought towards recreation of an idea.
Compare this with the idea of epic poetry and song of the Yugoslavian guslars. Some may be more artful than others, but at what point are they telling a new story?