Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Memory II: Día de Muertos 2011

Why is it difficult to recall, in later life, memories encoded from birth until about age three or four? We probably can remember, but we cannot translate our memories into something understandable to our current self-state. So, we may often be recalling -- or dreaming of -- swirls of colors, noises, scents, voice sounds, music, light and dark, touch, taste, texture, temperature shifts first experienced as "babes in the woods." We just can't make heads or tails of these memories as such now. Or perhaps we blend them or mix them into other, more patterned memories constucted later. Or, we periodically catch traces similar to seeing earlier writing on palimpsests.

Here I'm just riffing on stuff brought up in Jonathan K. Foster's Memory: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2009). I'm extrapolating, for sure.

I like this Friedrich Nietzsche quote that Foster employs on page 62: "The existence of forgetting has never been proved: we only know that some things don't come to mind when we want them to."

"Remembering the future" is not really gone into by Foster, except for déjà vu experiences.  I like the Cassandra idea, prophets and tea leaves, time as alinear, nonlinear or translinear. Right now, I'm guessing all of the main Republican presidential candidates are remembering a future in which they occupy the White House. Maybe there are alternate tracks in which this is true.

As far as historical memory, what I find bizarre is the whole A.D./B.C. chronological scheme -- it seems absurd, counting down the B.C. years toward zero and up from zero for the A.D. years. More confusing than helpful, really. Maybe it's supposed to be confusing. 

Today's Rune: Warrior. 


Adorably Dead said...

I did not know you counted the years that way. Maybe that's why BC and AD always confused me.

jodi said...

Erik, I can remember scents from smells I incurred at a very young age. Sometimes a photo will jog memory. I tend to forget the 'bad' and dwell on happy memories. Works for me!!