Re: ality

From: Dace (
Date: Fri Feb 15 2002 - 17:55:56 GMT

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    Subject: Re: ality
    Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2002 09:55:56 -0800
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    > >Grant,
    > >
    > > > >This is getting very complicated. Far simpler if memories aren't
    > > > >stored anywhere but emerge from the act of recollection. Instead
    > > > >of attributing an artificial memory system to the brain, we should
    > > > >be searching for the basis of natural memory, that is, the recall of
    > > > >what was once present.
    > > >
    > > > Recall it from where?
    > >
    > >You mean, from when.
    > >
    > >Memory concerns time, not space. [...]
    > From my own experience and what I've read on the subject I know that
    > memories are reconstructed as much as recalled.

    That's right. If memory is stored in the brain, like magnetic particles on
    a tape, our memories ought to be as accurate as the playback of a song. But
    that's not how it is. Since we're literally recalling the past, we have to
    do some reconstruction. There's no physics of the past-- no space or matter
    or energy. Thus we have to re-spatialize the memory, recreating the
    appearance of the event in question. This is why witnesses are so often
    unreliable. Fleshing out the memory requires some imagination, a process
    which is easily corrupted by what we want to believe or what others (such as
    a prosecutor or a defendant) expect from us.

    > But the elements from which
    > they are reconstructed come from within me. I don't have to use some
    > external reference to construct them. I've memorized thousands of lines
    > poetry, but when I was trying to recall the Rubayatt the other day, I had
    > go over certain lines half a dozen times to get them right in my head.
    > then, I made mistakes. Fitzgerald wrote too many versions and I keep
    > getting them mixed up. The fact that I memorized it in high school over
    > years ago leaves it scattered among all the stuff I've picked up since.
    > still, if I work hard enough to pull it out, it all seems to be there.

    The past remains as long as the mind that originally perceived it remains.
    Since the brain is a material object, it cannot retain any given moment as
    it moves on to the next moment. It can only skim the surface of time. The
    brain is the mind reduced to the current, spatiomaterial moment. So it
    makes no sense to assume that memories are contained in the brain. The
    brain is precisely that aspect of mind that cannot retain the past. The
    only other option is to assume that there's no such thing as memory, that no
    one actually recalls the past. Instead the brain, by amazing coincidence,
    happened to evolve into an information-storage device, similar to our
    computers. This view appears to be driven by memes that exploit our desire
    to project ourselves (and our technology) onto nature. No different than
    the anthropomorphic meme behind "God."


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