In an article from Gerald Celente’s “Trends Research Journal” (Spring 2017) Doug Grunther says that machines are increasingly doing the thinking for us. That the human brain and the “exponentially increasing computer intelligence are integrating closer and closer. This growing integration is significantly transforming the content of our daily lives.” (pp 28) We have become more dependent on ubiquitous applications and devices like The Cloud, personal computers, and smart phones because these devices conveniently store/remember what we need and want. How many of us can remember important phone numbers like we did before relying on the smart phones/mobiles? Or devices like navigational GPS’s remove our need to locate, plot a route for, and remember destinations. In addition anything electrified, will in the near future, have smart cognitive functions that will make us more dependent on computers and smart devices for tasks that require memory, sequencing and logic skills.
Maybe this will leave us more free to apply our memory, sequencing and logic skills to more productive creative self-actualizing tasks? Or maybe it will see these crucial faculties atrophy with disuse and dumb us down even further into dependency and helplessness - along with the risks of dementia etc? I don’t know…but I believe that memory is that basis for wisdom and learning and that I don’t want to lose any of them.
Given these challenges I’m glad that I practice Taiji. My daily practice requires of me to remember movements, sequences, and principles. I have to constantly work on remembering the details and principles that is required for each Taiji movement. Then join these movements into sequences. For example in the beginning middle and ending of each movement there is a specific place, direction and height for the head, hands, arms, body, hips, legs and feet, etc. Each limb moves according to a different trajectory but synchronises its beginning and ending with the rest of the body. To work regularly and persistently on remembering all these details whilst in motion and to include the principles of movement within each movement exercises not only my memory & sequencing but also my understanding of “how” Taijiquan is applied.
My short-term memory is as vulnerable as anyone else of my age and at times I feel that the demands of life are getting more and more complex, but I believe that with my regular practice, research and reflection, the practice of Taiji gives us a great kinesthetic, real-time discipline/body of knowledge that exercises our memory, sequencing and logic brain muscles. Along with some black-peppered, lightly-oiled tumeric, regular reading, simplifying of life, and moderation with alcohol consumption, we can give these technological/environmental, ageing, and any other such threat a good run for their money.
Author - Lee Chang Tye
copyright - Relaxed Mind Tai Chi