It sometimes feels like once you put something on the Internet, it will last forever. If you've ever tried to delete your embarrassing Facebook photos, I imagine you know what I'm talking about. Once I put something on the Internet, I no longer have to trust the frailties of my own memory, I can immortalize my every thought in the bedrock of our society, as though we were young lovers, simply by publishing a blog post.
However, this is a false confidence, a brittle permanence. Although the electronic memory may seem perfect in a way no human memory ever could be one minute, upon its deletion it is gone in a way no repressed or forgotten memory ever will be. With a click of a mouse a thought, a paper, a profile, even a friendship can be obliterated.
A computer stores its memories, each in their place, each separate from the memories stored around it. People, we live our memories, we are our memories. We don't remember things because they are "stored," we remember things because they have become a part of us, and who we are is a part of our memories. Every single thing that I remember is connected to every other, because they are all, in some sense no matter how small, a part of this thing I call myself.
On the other hand, I too am terribly impermanent, so although the memories stored within me may be more flexible and, consequentially, more durable than those in a computer, they too shall be obliterated as time wears on. I would like to thank my Nerdfighter friends for sharing something more than bits and bytes with me, for, in some way, making me who I am.
Nothing lasts forever, except loss.