Category Archives: Memory

It’s All Subjective Anyway

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. About philosophy and reality. Heavy stuff, I know. That whole idea from Descartes about reality being just a figment of our imagination. Both scary and king of thought provoking or tempting at the same time. I mean, if I could just imagine a totally different life tomorrow? Take away all the crap and have it the way I want it? Man, who wouldn’t want that?

What I really need right now is a ‘Q’ moment. Like that one episode of TNG where Q shows Picard how his life would have been different – drastically – because of one simple choice. Wish I could just look at that and see.

And why is it that memory is so subjective? Probably because it involves people. How can two people remember – or not remember – an event so incredibly differently? I mean, I can remember every detail of one past New Year’s Eve as clearly as if it were yesterday. After spending the evening with friends, a dear friend and I struck out on our own to look at lights and hang out – and ended up in one of those horrible, logical, non-shouting big deal ‘discussions.’ I remember what they said. I remember the pain – it cut me to the core and didn’t stop. I cried and cried. I cried for two days, basically – until my eyes swelled so much that I had to go to the ER to get my contacts taken out because my eyeballs were so swollen. I held onto that hangdog pathetic ‘poor me’ attitude for a while. But it didn’t work. It didn’t solve the problem.

So what happened? My competitive streak kicked in. I was going to show them. Prove that I could be smarter, prettier, thinner, more talented and a better friend than anyone else could be. That didn’t work either. Still doesn’t, sadly enough.

And my friend? They don’t remember any of it. None. Zero. Zilch. They remember only that our friendship was peaceful and happy the entire year.

How is that? I mean, really? Can they really not remember? Or are they lying? I can’t think of any reason why they would have to lie to me now, after all this time. It just seems really Matrix-like that I have all of these detailed memories – and they don’t Just a vague sense of contentment and happiness. Any what really sucks is that I’m the one carrying around the negative stuff. Not them. Me.

Why is that? Is it just my tendency toward the negative? My cursedly accurate memory? Or is that really not how things went down at all – and just my skewed perspective of events?

It’s weird. Really weird. Definitely something to ponder – what if the people we know and situations in which we find ourselves are all just figments of our imagination?


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Filed under Choices, Memory, Perspective, Reality, Star Trek

Dates, Dates, Dates – and I’m Not Talking Food

Some people are blessed with good memories. I’d like to think of myself as one of those people. But I ain’t got nothing on my spouse. His memory is not only good, it’s freakishly detailed, calendar-oriented, and scarily accurate. Don’t argue with him about what happened in June of 1985. He will win. Every time. I’ve seen it at family gatherings – his mom or dad will mention some memory of when he and his brother were little and it starts. Bro-in-law throws out a date, spouse counters, and it’s on. It’s on like Donkey Kong – and keeps going until my spouse has not only refuted all other opinions, but thrown out five, six or ten pieces of supporting evidence that also occurred in the vicinity of said event on the timeline.

He’s probably some kind of memory-date-savant. Cause for the really important dates he can also give you the time of the event, give or take fifteen minutes or so.

Not so with me. My memory is more photographic, and centered around important events. I can remember my kids’ birthdays, elementary school teachers, anniversary, stuff like that. But my memory is more relative, as in, I can do the math and figure out what year Empire Strikes Back premiered – but don’t have instant recall.

This post is going nowhere. Stick with me, it’s Sunday night and I am slowly meandering to a point. It goes back to my student planners I found in my desk box the other day. And for the one or two of you who will read this, maybe you can help me out.

Memory is subjective, right? Back in high school I had a couple of English teachers who made us learn about all of these different ‘isms’ in literature. Existentialism, transcendentalism, nihilism, etc. etc. I couldn’t tell you what any of them are right now (but I could Google it) – but I remember learning about one philosophy that still freaks me out. The basis being that there is, in fact, no reality. What is real to each one of us is just a figment of our imagination. Very Matrix-like. The point being that no one really knows what happens and that an objective view of any situation is impossible. What I see and experience is totally different from you. Ten points to anyone who can name this philosophy – it’s been bugging me for years.

Back to memory. So in reading through the mundane to-do lists from my life as a music major, there were a few important events scattered here and there. But I wonder – does anyone else remember them? It’s funny how something can seem so life-changing to one person but be completely overlooked by another. Huh. I guess it’s all about subjectivity. I give value to that which I deem important, and forget about the rest. It’s just kind of weird to think that the major stuff has been forgotten. And that moment in a conversation when you ask ‘Do you remember last year, when…?’ and mention something that was really fun/important/memorable. And the response is ‘Not really.’ Awkward. Wonder if everyone has those moments, or it’s just me. I guess it’s my self-centeredness that assumes that other people place the same value on memory as I do.

Life lesson #456. They don’t.

Has anyone else ever thought about this stuff? What if you were the only one that had memories of certain times in your life?

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Filed under Life Changes, Memory, Philosophy