I feel like I’ve touched on this topic before, but I didn’t see it in a brief glace through the archives. This is a similar line of thinking to my post on technology wrecking relationships.
Anyway, last night I was out with the wife shopping for beads and bead related supplies (don’t ask, just pity me.) When I’m in a store that focuses primarily on beads and scrap booking supplies (paper and glue people – get over it already) it’s hard to stay in the “now.” I tend to retreat to my brain.
For some reason I started thinking about words for loss of senses. Inability to see is blindness. Inability to hear is deafness.
But what’s the term for loss of olfaction? I’m not sure, but I think this was triggered by my wish for a temporary lack of ability to smell when I walked past a store employee wearing too much make up and perfume.
I thought about it for a moment, but came up blank. I don’t think I’ve ever needed the word. So I pulled out my Blackberry and Googled “Loss of sense of smell”. A few seconds later, Anosmia.
Just a few years ago I would have wondered about that the whole way home, until I got to a computer where I could look it up. A few years before that I would have wondered about it for days, and eventually just forgotten what the question was and moved on. Maybe I would looked it up if I happened into a library.
I can’t figure it out if this is better or worse. Did instant access to the answer enrich my vocabulary and free up my mental resources to move on to the next thing? Or is this spoon-feeding of information rotting our brains. It’s a lot like the debate over kids using calculators in school.