Who am I?
The following might come as a shock to you but have no fear..for the memory of it..need not be trusted...
Fascinating, earth shattering, wow...scary..
These are some of the reactions going through mind as I was laying there listening to a one hour special about memory on NPR.
It was all about memory and its inner workings...and it just got my mind going..
Studies show that everytime you see or experience something, unlike previous assumptions that a memory of the event was stored away somewhere to be taken out and viewed later, no such thing happens.
Instead every time you “remember” the event you formulate it anew in your mind. You make up a whole new scenario based on a suggestion of an occurrence.
Imagine someone whispers in your mind “you’re standing on a purple hill overlooking a silvery sea full of frolicking pink dolphins”, your mind just created an image based on this outside suggestion.
Now imagine this suggestor is you...and the suggestion is the last time you conjured up this event...
The more times you “remember” this event the more it will change because it is based on the prior suggestion which is based on the suggestion that preceded it...
So the people with the most accurate “memories” are those with amnesia!
It made so much sense.
When I was 4 years old I suffered a bad injury and for years I had a somewhat vivid memory of that event. That is until I happened to be discussing it with my parents one rainy shabbos afternoon (wait, was it rainy?) and they said that there was such a glaring impossibility in my memory that it cannot be true. It simply could not have happened as I remembered it happening. That means, either this memory was suggested to me outside of myself or it changed so much over time that it ceased to bear any resemblance to an actual event.
Scientists working on rats were able to make rats forget occurences as they were occuring by injecting a chemical during the event, blocking a memory from ever registering.
But then they discovered something unbelievable which helped confirm this theory. Even after the event occurred, by injecting the same chemical during a “remembering” of the event they were able to achieve the same result and erase the memory.
That means that when we remember we’re not bringing up a stored memory but formulating a new event based on a suggestive whisper and this new event was not being allowed to be the basis of any further suggestions.
Then I thought about the body.
Scientists have long known that virtually every part of the body regenerates itself over time.
The skin takes..about 2 weeks! (Every 2 weeks your skin is a completely new skin than the one 2 weeks ago).
The bones take about 10 years..
And the organs fluctuate. With liver turning over every 300-500 days and the heart taking a lot longer..
The average cell in your body is 7 to 10 years old.
So stop and think for a moment. The person that you were 15-20 years ago is not here anymore.
So who am I?
Can I trust these memories of my past floating around my head..?
The body is gone and even the memories don’t really exist.
Its like every moment is your first..which I suppose can be a good thing.
So then I thought..wait a second..why am I getting all bent out of shape because of my lost injury memory..?
It’s not like it happened to me...