I’ve been thinking a lot about memory lately. How much do we miss on a day to day basis that our senses actually pick up and experience but we simply lose it by the time we reach the moment of reflection on the day.
I’ve been researching “ad blindness” as of late because the phenomenon spreads across a much wider spectrum than simply advertisement. For as long as the internet has been around, people have abhorred the obnoxious flashing rectangles leering from the tops of websites containing various ads. It’s now been documented that even if there is legitimate site-related content within a rectangle on the top of the page, a user will search endlessly for that content in other places and likely end up leaving the site out of frustration. More interestingly is that many people who may stumble on this blog will now have a renewed (and potentially annoying) awareness of those ads again.
So in light of that, I can’t help but contemplate how much desensitizing really diminishes the ability to recall small occurrences that could have had significant weight but we’ve become conditioned to ignore. Is it this bizarre form of desensitization that causes us to become bored quickly with our surroundings? When we reflect on the day and can’t pull a single significant emotion out of the fray, is it due to the bland consistency of our daily lives or is the root truly a defense mechanism due to the more to a subconscious feeling of overstimulation?
Advertisement has had to push to aggressive extremes to gain our attention, which seems to only further our need to shut out the sights and sounds around us. The same goes for day to day human interaction. The more we experience, the harder it is to really captivate us. At the same time, while we tell the world we’re searching for meaning and truly unique experience, we’re also in the process of a slow shutdown as we attempt to save ourselves from the barrage of annoyances encountered regularly.
It’s within our control to make efforts to notice “the little things”… but is it even in our power to make a conscious effort to see what we unconsciously ignore?