Re: PHILOSOPHY: It's All Shifting Patterns

Guru George (
Fri, 31 Jan 1997 21:25:06 GMT

On Wed, 29 Jan 97 04:59:02 UT
"David Musick" <> wrote:

>Hal Finney said, about memory, "Memory is not exactly a process. It is more
>like a database which the processes within our minds can access."
>Actually, memory *is* a process, and it is not at all like a database. I
>don't know all the details of how the brain works, and what I do know is too
>complicated for me to explain right now, but memory is not like a database at
>all. First of all, only *certain* things are remembered, and then even that
>which is remembered changes over time. Memories are more like millions of
>criscrossing footprints in a sandy beach. Paths which are taken more often
>stand out more, and the paths can be follwed again much easier. But if they
>are unused, they will become more and more disturbed by crossing paths and
>random, wandering footprints.
>Our memories are in the reinforcement of certain pathways and the signals
>flowing through those pathways. Nearly all experiences are not remembered at
>all. Look at all the millions of details of the scene around you; you can
>take all this in with a single glance and be consciously aware of all the
>millions of minute details around you, all the subtle shadings textures and
>colors. If you close your eyes, you will quickly forget almost everything.
>You may remember certain *general* things, but nearly *all* of the detail is
>lost; you can no longer see the scene with the same vivid clarity that you
>with your eyes open.
>Our memories are not *records* of the past, they are the ways we have adapted
>to our past experiences.

Beautiful description, David. On the other hand, here's a poser: have
you ever had one of those experiences in which a memory from the past
comes unbidden at an odd moment, a memory that captures vividly the sense
of presence of an occasion you may not have thought about for years?

This phenomenon has always intrigued me, as has a distinct memory I have
(and remember having) of one day standing on the steps coming out of the
church with my family when I must have been about 5 or 6 and thinking "Oh
shit, I've got to go through all this growing up stuff again!". ( Like,
it really felt as if I had been alive before and gone through growing up

Of course, these could be just anomalies, but they don't *feel* like
anomalies; and feelings aren't necessarily always to be scorned.

Guru George