Rewinding Roads

Format C: DriveRelational memory: Process in which multiple and simultaneous sources of stimulus information–such as particular scenes, sounds, smells, emotions, and goals–are connected together. Conceivably, the hippocampus (short-term, long-term memory and spatial navigation) together with other structures in the medial temporal lobe, facilitate the formation of relational memories.

I have written many times about this in the past, and was delighted to actually run across a term and research group that study the traits, triggers and phenomena of this part of the brain – (well that this really exists is what I find the most fascinating part).

It amazes me that you can really be going along your way, mind wandering as far off in the distance as could be – and then you are stimulated by a sensation or a smell, or even just brushing up against a wall of glass and your mind immediately takes you to some place that it would have never brought to surface ten minutes prior.

Just goes to show you that we probably never really ever forget anything. We’ll I believe that we have access to around 2.5 gigabytes, but the capacity is actually 2.5 million. That’s a lot of hard drive space in your head to store all of the things that you would rather forget. Or maybe really would like to remember.

I often wonder what kind of filing system our head relates too, as if we could choose to file something way in the back – or keep something close at hand like flash type memory.

What I do understand is that my memory broadcasts me pictures in HD whether I want them or not. Music and temperature are the most sensitive areas. I’m sure I do not stand alone on that. Smell would be a close third. Sounds are very subduing mostly, but the temperature of the air or wind are the most destructive – meaning that when this type of wave rushes over me I am 80% not in the present. It’s like a DVD presses play in my head and that’s what I get to see for about thirty seconds are so.

In ways this could be something that would serve as a positive tool. Useful in remembering where my keys are, phone numbers, addresses or simple short-term things like that. Only if it were that so easy. Unfortunately my relation memory does not work like that. I get the long-term, years five to ten years ago flashes. About 50/50 good and bad. Had I a selection or channel knob that would be quite the blessing. I could tune out the horrible stuff, and just live in the more comfortable places of my head. In a perfect world.

Ultimately this process is quite amazing overall, how you internalize these transmissions is what makes you who you are. Most people I think would grind them up over and over and try to be rid of them – or just never go there. I tend to find myself a bit too analytical at times. If I can relive something as vivid as almost touching it again I tend to replay how the story could have turned out, instead of the way it did.

Do I wish I had a “/format C: drive” line of command for it all? Sometimes, but mostly I just enjoy the pause, rewind and slow button.

How I have kept mine from crashing all these years I will never know.


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