Monday, November 29, 2010

A Theory on Memory

What are memories?

The first instinct is to say, "well, they're memories." But are these physical stitches in time? Or are these merely just the past? Alternatively, they could be building blocks to our future.

The first facet to grasp I suppose, is the fact that our memories exist only in our minds. What has happened in the external world, has been stored and documented in our personal internal world. Memories live in the past but remain vapor in our minds, giving us only a mere smudge of what we once saw clear as day, sound as night, high as the sky.

But why do our memories only give us a taste? Why have some aspects of our memories stuck to our minds and not others?

The answer may lie in what our future holds. What has happened and what WILL happen may share a common biological thread. What you DO remember may constitute what you eventually will do, for we base all of our actions on decisions on what we have decided or have done before.

For instance: I have a memory, a deep, visual memory, in which my friends and I are walking through the town powerlines, in the woods, at night, in the dead cold of winter. The sky was clear and cold, and we were clear and cold as well. I can probably remember where we ended up, or something we did after, but visually, there are only mere frames; frames of my shortest friend bundled up with a smile in a long, long jacket; a frame of the clear sky; a frame of roasting marijuana in a bowl, surrounded by the steam of our cold breath, maybe four or five of us. When I look back, sometimes there's snow, and sometimes there isn't.

So why only mere frames? Are we only SUPPOSED to remember certain things, certain things of value to our eventual future? Is there a filter, within the mind that filters out memories that are not valuable? And outside of this filter, is all we've ever seen, heard, thought, and felt stored somewhere deep within the mind, with a small possibility of resurfacing? It could be so.

Music. We hear it everywhere, every day. As a musician, it's safe to say that I probably listen to music differently than people who are not musicians. When I play my instrument, rather, when I IMPROVISE on my instrument, where, are my ideas coming from? Well, from things I've learned, of course. But am I consciously digging up these techniques I've picked up? Not at all. Am I thinking of a sentence I learned when I was a child, when I am talking to you now? Not at all. This raises a different set of questions.

So memories may stagger in intermittently, whenever they see fit? Might they have lives, souls, and universes of their own? It could be so, it could be so.

However it seems in the present that it's only important to MAKE memories. For in the present, memories don't exist. So it seems to be the only way to live; to make more memories. But when we look back, consciously, do they matter?

Perhaps we should let memories enter the present, at their own will, for they may be universes of their own.

1 comment:

  1. Jon,

    You are not only a good musician but a good writer as well and I commend you. Keep it up it's good stuff.