Mystery of Memory…where is the disconnect?
I remember when I was a child I was really bad at eating home food (not that I have become good now), but I don’t remember (what my parent say today) that I was really naughty in my childhood. I remember I had lied to my father when I was in class seven but don’t remember what was my performance in that year school exam. I remember I was reprimanded by my Science teacher for performing badly, but also remember being appreciated for writing a beautiful essay by my English teacher…rest I’m not able to retrieve.
Is it amnesia? Or is it selective remembrance.
Memory is something we keep forgetting.
It is an irony indeed.
It is such an important part of our life. We can realize its full significance the moment we pause and imagine that we don’t remember anything prior to that very moment.
It is very dreadful to even imagine.
But people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease…they unfortunately have to face this situation in reality. It robs them of their memory, they become forgetfulness. And it is not easy situation to confront. But they have no option.
The question that keeps constantly stimulating me is why we remember something and forget the other things. More, intriguing question, what is the storage capacity of our memory. I keep hearing the ‘storage capacity’ of the computer memory…it is exponentially getting increased year after year. Perhaps it is measurable and tangible to relate, human memory is unfathomable and intangible…some plausible explanation.
How much is the influence of memory on our intelligence? Is that people with better memory more intelligent or for that matter, are they more creative?
Where to draw the line?
Speaking of line, can we really draw a line, memory and intelligence being fuzzy logic?
I am sure, some time or the other each one of us would have perceptively or just nonchalantly put ourselves to random memory test (not the usual but casual test). When we do so and analyze ourselves, it is revealing and at the same time truly fascinating to know the magic (if any) and mystery (certainly of) memory.
I just put myself to a test (not to forget also not a funny one) how much of things can I recollect and why did I remember those things only not the other things, and here is a snippet of the findings.
- Felt Embarrassed – I couldn’t explain the difference between “little and a little” sounds silly today. This was asked by my English teacher when I was in school and I felt humiliated in front of the class (she literally chided me), though I remember most of the classmate had no clue either…all expressed their sympathy and consoled me later by saying that they also didn’t know.
- Only Once – It was once only, and I remember it. I was very particular on going to school (don’t know why) but I never missed a day in school…I was forced to take a leave when I fell ill. This was not out of a routine health hiccups but I had taken a challenge from my friends and played non-stop basketball under pouring rain for more than an hour. After inviting fever with open arms I just cannot escape the grip of fever that just didn’t allow me to leave the bed.
- Sweet Success – I was writing and had relentlessly written to newspapers and but for some reasons or the other my article never got a place in the paper, it was agonizing but I was determined and I was submitting without any break. I remember I was sitting with my college friends and flipping the pages and I had to stop (they yelled) and couldn’t believe when I saw my name…still the memory is strong on the incident.
When we (read or see or hear) something based on our processing capabilities of respective senses we determine our ability to retain. Some of us remember better what we read than what we see than what we hear, and it largely differs from one individual to the other. These all sensors fetch data to our memory bank. As we move forward in life we keep coming back to check our memory bank and keep testing our ability to recollect.
In nostalgic mood.
In isolated state.
The state of mind keeps changing.
We precipitously put the reverse gear and go for a random exploration of our memory lanes and by-lanes.
The question is what we get out of it. Nothing can be changed, it is intangible. And the futile exercise robs us from living in our present moment where we can do something tangible and cherish what we have not done in the past. Exactly why, occasionally, revisiting the past we keep feeding our memory what we should have or shouldn’t have done….
And as our pace of forgetting increases with time, we say age is catching up…or is that with glut of so much information our retrieving capacity is failing. I don’t want to get into any technicalities nor do I have the knowledge or authority on the subject.
I know the moment I will bring ‘neuroscience’ into the discussion, it will get complicated to understand the functioning of memory, and anyway I am confused in the neural network and will only make you more confused at best…
I am trying to only decipher the common understanding not the scientific dissection of the topic which is a mystery to the scientists itself. I am just applying my common sense to make some sense out of it. What I understand is that our entire working depends on our memory; if it is erased we are lost. We just cannot do anything; it is strange that our entire body becomes dysfunctional without the memory.
Can the mind work without the memory?
Is it possible that can we erase our bad memories and restore only our good memories?
Mind works based on the ‘set of beliefs’ (with sunrise we get up, we pray our god, we rest when we are tired, we eat when hungry, we laugh when we enjoy something) we have stored these beliefs in our memory. The moment we don’t know what eating is and recognize our food, what can mind do and what instruction it will give to the other parts of the body?
Even though science keeps unraveling the ‘mystery of memory’…the mystery continues even after thousands of years of scientific research and even after infinite spiritual quest.
Researchers consider memory is not a ‘packet’ which automatically props up but a ‘process’ which is reconstructing the series of events from various parts of the brain to build the scene.
But the mystery is what triggers the reconstruction.
Is it the external stimuli or the internal assimilation that stitches the scattered patches to create a picture?
I am yet to see the picture of memory…the dots are disconnected.
For me as a common person (neither as a scientist nor as a spiritual guru) the mystery of memory still continues…I am in search.
Google has definitions and explanations only.
Images are left to my imagination.
Where is the connection?
The Mystery of Memory continues…