The human brain has a very fascinating way of processing & curating memories. I am admittedly no scholar of biology or science in any capacity, so I can offer no supplemental explanation as to exactly how the brain functions. My musings are more of the abstract and philosophical variety.
I can’t help but interject my opinions on technology and how its pace of conceptualization and production are effecting the human condition. This is the department in which I AM a well-read scholar, so it tends to become integrated into many of my dialogues pertaining to the larger aspects of contemporary society.
As I see it right now, technologies are fast outpacing the ability of the general populous to fully understand them, and then accordingly adapt to them. Not only are the levels of technological complexity going deeper and deeper, the amount of differing models of each technology are becoming wider and wider (a phenomenon known as “technological penetration”).
What does this have to do with memory? Well for me personally, I find the constant, unending barrage of digital stimuli to have an adverse effect on my short-term memory (this blog in and of itself can become a bit noisy at times…how meta). Managing between one and three screens at a time, each with its own respective content and message, makes it increasingly difficult to focus on the present moment. Much less remember it later, when I wasn’t properly processing whatever was happening in that real-time moment, due to all the interference coming from my various devices.
While this presents a distressing situation at present, I do believe that future technologies will hold the ability to store and recall memories, outstripping the limits of the human mind itself. Which we need. We need to remember. The alcoholic brain is so very adept at projecting all the “good-time” images for us. Consequently, it is just as good as oppressing the devastating ones. Life will be good for a while, and then it will be bad, and then it will be really bad, and then it will be good again, and then you’ll hit rock bottom, and then you’ll be okay, and then you’ll die.
“‘Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life /
Try to make ends meet /
You’re a slave to money, then you die”
We need daily reminders of how it got so bad. Why we can’t pick up that next drink. Who we’ve hurt in the past. Where our deepest bottoms took us. When all seemed hopeless. Because as life cycles through its stages, it is guaranteed that new struggles will develop, each more difficult than the last. And we will want to remember how good it felt to let it all go, to let the bottle take over for a while. To escape from the fear, hunkered down alone in the corner of a darkened barroom. To plunge back into the depths of oblivion.
We will need the good memories, too. We need to remember there was a time before all this, that the light of passionate life burning brightly inside of us. We need to remember what true happiness feels like; that it never has and never will come from a drink or a drug. This is the essence of balance, a key component in living a life of serenity and zen. There are things worth living for in this world. We must remember.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –