Daily Gleanings: Memory (11 November 2019)
Just in time for SBL and all those new people you’ll meet if you attend, Brett McKay and Nelson Dellis discuss “how to get a memory like a steel trap.”
The discussion focuses on various techniques for improving your memory.
Beyond names and faces, some of these principles may also help you fend off the “absent minded academic” phenomenon even if you don’t decide to apply them to the same kind of competitive situations as Dellis discusses.
The MLA has started a new initiative, named the Humanities Commons. According to the Commons’s introductory webinar registration page,
Imagine a humanities network with the sharing power of Academia.edu, the archival quality of an institutional repository, and a commitment to using and contributing to open source software. Now imagine that this network is not-for-profit. It doesn’t want to sell your data or generate profit from your intellectual property. That’s Humanities Commons. Run by a nonprofit consortium of scholarly societies, Humanities Commons wants to help you curate your online presence, expand the reach of your scholarship—whatever form it may take—and connect with other scholars who share your interests.
For more information, view the webinar or peruse the Commons’s website.
An introspective look at not remembering names
Over at Becoming Minimalist, Joshua Becker offers some personal introspection on a paradigmatic case of forgetting a couple’s names. In part, Becker narrates,
I was sad that I wasn’t able to remember something as simple as the names of two people I very much enjoyed meeting.
And suddenly it struck me.
I entered the conversation—as I do so often—with the desire to be known rather than to know. I was trying so hard to say something impressive or witty or intelligent that I entirely missed what they were saying on the other side of the conversation.
I wanted them to know my name more than I wanted to know theirs.
For the rest of the post, see Becoming Minimalist. Intentionality of engagement in a conversation and interest in a new acquaintance does seem strongly to correlate with how well names “stick” to faces.
Another but perhaps less clear variety of the same phenomenon would probably be the “listening with the intent to reply” that Stephen Covey advises against so repeatedly. Ostensibly, it might be interest in the content of the conversation or the subject matter, but might the driver be a desire to be (known as) the one who contributes a certain point to the conversation in a certain way?
Cross file under #whatnottodoatSBL