The author, Charles Baxter, deals with data and experience in the information age. This essay is divided into five chapters. In the first chapter the writer describes the basic form about how people acquire information. That is Charles expresses information forming based on experience by narrating his brother’s story.
In the second chapter, the author implies what exactly he is going to talk about in this essay. Charles suggests the two notions of information, ‘data’ and ‘experience.’ As time goes on, information is getting more accumulating. ‘Data’ represents information accumulated by others’ experience and ‘Experience’ is based on one’s own experience acquired with like discussions. Information itself can work as one of forms to represent authority. One who got plenty of information does not have only knowledge but also possesses authority. Forgetting usually occurs in the process of acquiring data information, while experience is seldom forgotten. It does not mean experience is never erased in the memory. Just when experience is removed in the memory, it accompanies shame.
Charles Baxter warns the information age by borrowing Walter Benjamin’s opinion in the third chapter. Walter Benjamin expressed that people in the information age are rich in information but poor in experience. Forgetting occurs easier in the acquired data information than in the experience information.
In the forth chapter, the writer deals with how information is edited in the memoir. Autobiographical story needs to be summarized when being built because there is so much information. To summarize her/his story, the author takes bad memory away from their story. It would be based on ashamed experience or experience that tends to hide.
The purpose of this essay is, Charles Baxter tries to say that the data acquired by computers or books is forgotten easier than information learned by experience. Therefore, experience is important and gives human more valuable life.