Tuesday, November 01, 2011


About halfway into Jonathan K. Foster's Memory: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2009). So far, there's not a whole lot that anyone reading this doesn't already know about, at least generally. But it's fascinating anyway. Memory opens up everything.

I'm guessing that we tend to underestimate how much of a guiding role memory plays every single day . . . and night.

Memory operates on different levels.

Typical day: doing just about anything, we draw on cruise control memory, auto-pilot memory, GPS memory. Sometimes we forget what we normally remember - like keys, or where we parked, or a phone number. Then we go into manual mode, overriding the automated system. Consciously thinking about it! Making an active effort to recall and retrieve the memory! After praying to Saint Anthony or just focusing a little or using some fuzzy logic, or mentally retracing or reconstructing our steps, we remember -- voila. Eureka.

Then there's periodic recall or forgetting: we forget passwords that we don't use often. Fine. So we reset them or remeber them after being promoted by stored "hints." But there are so many passwords to remember, perhaps, that it's not long before we are confused all over again. Pretty typical.

Then there's memory fueled by emotion -- bigger stuff than the above. More on that, probably, in the next post. Once I've turned some more pages of the memory book.

Today's Rune: Joy.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm experiencing a lot of memory things right now as I try to recall certain events from my past in writing up a brief memoir. I'm really enjoying it and am glad my memory is as good as it is.