Sunday, March 16, 2014

Memories, exact and fuzzy

No one seems to know just how memories work -- the photo of a brain here is a bit fuzzy and so is our knowledge of that little organ that is so important. More and more is being learned all the time and I read just about every article that crosses my path. 

It's been a weekend with memories prominently on show -- clear memories, fuzzy memories, debated memories.  Can I say "forgotten memories?" -- if they're forgotten they're not memories any more, except someone else's related memory jogs us and the lost memory becomes fuzzy and then plainer. Is it accurate?  Who knows?  If two people agree that it was raining that day, then probably it was raining.  Although there are false group memories, I've read.

Not only were many memories related at the birthday party I wrote about, but yesterday I was invited to meet a pair of women, one of whom wanted to meet me because she had memories of our former meetings that totally are lost to me.  All I remembered about her when I was told her name and that we could meet at Rachel's house at lunch time, was that I had heard she has a "hyper" personality and that, as young woman she went to a therapist who told her it was all right to be angry about things in her life.  Thereafter she became an erupting volcano of anger at one and all. 

All these years later the anger is used up and she's deeply into New Age-y love and all it's various permutations.  This is easier to respond to than anger -- or maybe not although it's pleasenter (I know that's not a word) to respond to.  Much gushing on her part, sincere but over the top. No, I cannot pull the memory she related to me up from any depths of my brain. We are also told by the brain scientists that normal people do not store all things that happened to them (a few unfortunate people do), we wash out much of the dross, the inessential, perhaps partly during REM sleep, perhaps just because the storage neurons (or wahtever) are reused for today's events.

Mostly memory is still a mystery and may long remain a mystery, despite the horrifying conjectures of a scientists I read a day or two ago (I forget which and where) that our memories can be transferred to computer chips and thus become part of a robot which will essentially be us because it will have our memory/personality.  I don't believe it's possible. He's probably a brilliant man and I wish he'd apply his intelligent to something more immediately useful to mankind.  --  Now, did someone say something similar to the Wright brothers when they were jumping off sand dunes with wings strapped to their backs?


Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Interesting post. It is funny how two people's memory of a past occurrence differ. The comment that we forget the inessential struck me. I remember wrongs done to me quite well, but the wrong doer often does not remember at all. Funny how that works.

June Calender said...

You're quite right, Carol. At the birthday party Patrick's younger brother clearly remembered being "tortured" by Patrick tickling him as a child. Patrick had no memory of it at all.


Got a laugh out of your last sentence. Memories do seem a bit tricky -- was the jacket yellow or red, was he running or walking fast,did he have white tennis shoes on? Just ask a police officer interrogating a witness. Lots of maybes when it comes to memories -- barbara

Kass said...

Is it a disorder to remember EVERYTHING (Merilu Henner - biographical memory)?

I was at a party of musicians from my college days yesterday and most of them did not remember me. Are their memories failing or did I just not leave a lasting impression?

June Calender said...

Frankly, Kass, they were probably so self-involved they don't remember anything but their own doings. And,yes, your quote is surely right, remembering everything is a disorder and surely a very troublesome one.