What If We Were Search Engines?

Looking back upon old memories, documents, and images is often rather stimulating. It’s as if those remnants have an intellectual side, not only able to narrate, but also capable of being decisive. Sometimes they are able to sense and select past emotions, throwing them into the present, and programming a response…


I just spent 5 hours face to face with my laptop screen, sorting, laughing, shying, and deleting. I had 5 years worth of images to re-order, clear, and keep. In fact, the task itself was rather cathartic as I asked myself, does the image have good quality? Does it have sentimental value? Will I ever use that photograph again? What is it’s significance? 

If only, I wonder, we could do this in “the real world.” How often do we reassess our priorities, attitudes, and thoughts? How do we even go about this?

Imagine, for a second, that you’re a search engine; sieving through data and webpages is not an easy task. Say that for instance, someone types in, “news highlights 2013,” lets consider for a moment, what you would select, and order as most significant. First of all, we must realise just how many newspapers are published daily – multiply that by how many individual stories are included in each… How on earth do we, as search engines, filter this down to approximately 15 webpages?

News stories, similar to memories and personal experiences, involve people, emotions, and priorities. Perhaps you’ve been in a newspaper before, and cherished the story because it was significant to you? But we could say the same for everybody else, in every other news bulletin, right? A search engine can’t always afford to be personal.

A search engine filters for: something unique; something that perhaps, marks a historic change; something that should not be forgotten; something that originates to a source. Often, it searches for the positive, yet still includes the negative; looking to the past must give both wisdom and warning.

What about all the small, “forgotten” stories? Are they not worth keeping? This question undoubtedly appears time after time – my answer? A search engine knows about all of these, stores them in permanent data logs, and cherishes them in their moment. However, it doesn’t waste energy trying to hoard these onto one readable webpage.

In today’s world, we often find ourselves wanting to experience a little bit of everything. Experience, in all newspaper forms, matters! But how do we prioritise? Does it ever feel like there’s too much to fit onto a day’s webpage?

May I suggest, that we begin to apply the intellectual, impersonal, and cathartic search engine to our daily mindfulness? To begin, could we lay out all of our thoughts, emotions, desires, tasks, and priorities onto paper? Then, carefully erase the scandalous (worries, fears, negativity) and highlight the significant: Which emotion do you want to define today? What can you learn from your thoughts/experiences today? Which tasks will build your character and history? Is there anything on your list that you know you would want to remember in a year or two – anything that you really wont care for later? Do you need to be impersonal, and let someone else feature?

Being strict with our attitudes, priorities, and experiences is not wrong. When we learn to cherish everything on our webpage/notepad, but not hoard all of it, we can live more effectively. Challenge yourself to be cathartic about your present – not just your past!

What is significant about today? What will you be deleting? What’s number one on today’s list?

Eleanor ♥

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