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Transactive memory doesn’t get enough attention. I think we’re too distracted by Google to give it its due.

transactive-memory-society

That’s interesting. It’s interesting in many ways.

When a team or a couple or a family really begins to “click” it’s because the individual members have had enough shared experiences to have established a shared conscious and even subconscious. They have a shared mind.

Meaning? Whatever members know relative to that group/family/couple is actually shared among the members. They are insufficient on their own. That synthesis (arising from the knowledge bases of the individual members) constitutes a participation in a common mind. The best teams/couple/families have that intimate sharing thing down pat. It’s like a key-lock combo.

When we talk about family bonds or loyalty to teams and groups, we’re talking about that shared mind. It’s give-and-take.  It takes an investment of each members’ commitment and time that can’t just be purchased. That’s why it’s deeply-valued, and never forgotten once experienced.

You left a part of yourself behind the line on that McDonald’s team when you were 17. Trust me. You guys were beautiful.

Seriously, after I had thought about it a bit, I realized that what we call “mind” in general is a shared experience — one that arises only when there is more than one participant. A baby’s consciousness only clicks in when he or she is aware of another, and only insofar as the child is aware of the other.

It’s a very fundamental experience, this common mind.

There’s been some research on this communal shared mind between/among close friends and partners. It explains why divorce in the case of a real marriage is so devastating, and why long-time marriage partners tend to die in quick succession. Our knowledge (and therefore really what constitutes “mind” to us) is always spread out among at least two and possibly more people. The minimum unit is two, however. So stable personal reality is formed only when you can openly and fully share your thoughts with one other person and form a bond with them at some point.

I discussed this extensively with this one PhD who had based a lot of her dissertation on it. It’s fascinating when it shows up in little, dull, drab ways that constitute love.

“Honey, when did we buy that dryer? I can’t find the receipt.”
“March of ’09. It was just after Jimmy went to camp the first time.”
“Thank you!”

Ok, so now. . . . what happens when your partner turns you away and tells you to Google whatever you’re asking because that’s all they’d do and they’re busy with their own things?

What are the implications when our fellow human mind partners are no longer acting as mind partners? Has the “communal memory” become a database hosted on the cloud and accessible through handheld computers?

What are the implications for human relationships and longevity?

Have we lost our minds to an advertising-supported spy eng— I mean search engine?

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BTW: You can read more about lost (and recovered) memories in Eye of the Diamond-T , my debut novel available HERE.

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