A New Year. A new beginning, whether you are one who like making New Year Resolution or not, everyone will find this time of the year as a fresh start to change one’s life no matter how small or drastic your goals are. Yet every year, we find ourselves disappointed with the results, even if you manage to fulfill your previous resolutions there is always something not quite right about your present state and thus we make a new promises to ourselves. I am yet to meet an individual who is perfectly content and I don’t think I will ever find one.
Why is it that we often find ourselves in such a predicament? Why is it that every year when we contemplate upon our journey, we find things that are different from how we remember them? Yes, our mind has grown and alters in the course of the year and hopefully it is for the better but how has it changed? How is it that certain memories that may not seemed anything out of the ordinary when we were experiencing it has magically transform into a nostalgic moment of your life when reflected upon? Are we not fully embracing those moments or is our memories not to be trusted?
Someone dear to me once said to me, that I often have a selective perspective on certain events in my life. Strangely, I agreed with her though I never really understood why or how during that moment and I don’t think she did either but I asked myself why it is so. Yes she had a different point of view of such events from mine but her recollection of that memory is less bias for she wasn’t influenced by her raging emotions even thought her version was not entirely true. Yet that debate had sparked a curiosity in me to understand how one’s mind work when recalling old memories because as the Doctor once said ‘A man is the sum of his memories, a time lord even more so.’ So if one’s memory is the main influence of one’s present perspective but yet our mind deceives us by having selective recollections, how can I really trust this organ of mine to be the basis of my consciousness? How do I truly define myself?
WHO AM I ?
What do we know about our own little brain? The brain is an organ in our body that consist of the largest mass of nerves tissue which bath itself in cerebrospinal fluid and membranes called the meninges. The brain’s complex infrastructure of chemical secretion and electrical impulses of networking neurones is the basis of one’s consciousness and thus any imbalance or impairment of this delicate organ even in the tiniest details will alters the constitution of your awareness and thus yourself. This unique and beautiful evolutionary masterpiece by Mother Nature is protected by the tough skull’s cranium.
Though neuroscience is yet to understand in full details on how exactly our consciousness interacts with the brain but it is safe to state that the whole complex composition connection of the pathways of our electrical impulses is the very foundation of our Self- Awareness with its different state of brainwaves frequencies as the levels of Consciousness. In essence our brain is an intricate musical instrument with the sparks of the neuro-plasticity acting like strings in a violin that echoes the beautiful symphony of our consciousness. In this song of our mind there are the lyrics of the past memories influencing the rhythm of the present. But how much truth those these memories holds?
In 2003, Daniel Schacter, Joan Chiao and Jason Mitchell from the Department of Psychology, Harvard University released a paper with the title ‘The Seven Sins of Memory’ in which they examine the relation between memory and self by considering the errors of memory. Such an idea on the nature of the relationship between memories and self awareness is not a new concept with scientist and philosophers have been long discussing the intimate interdependence between the two. The earliest record of such can be found as early as 1829 when James Mill wrote: ‘The phenomenon of Self and that of Memory are merely two sides of the same fact, or two different modes of viewing the same fact.’ Yet in the major public such ideas are rarely mention, and thus we fall prey to the very sins of our own memories. So what are these seven sins?
The Seven Sin of Memory
Transience : Decreasing accessibility of memory over time.
A certain memory degrading over due to lack or recollection the brain’s obeying the entropy principle of energy in the universe.
Absent – Mindedness : Lapses of attentions that result in forgetting.
Loss of focus on certain details of an experience due to lack of energy or other influences (alcohol, drugs, emotions) to retain all the information of that particular memory.
Blocking : Information is present but temporarily accessible.
A failure to recall a memory due to the self imposing obstacle of ignorance.
Misattribution : Memories are attributed to an incorrect source.
Corruption of memory due to influences and by mismatching the information of the details. Often the case of imaginative recollection on certain aspect of the experiences which may contradict the reality of such memory.
Suggestibility : Implanted memories about things that never occurred
External influences and emotional state of the individuals that has distorted information of the memory.
Bias : Current knowledge and beliefs distort our memories of the past.
Present understandings and state of mind that alters the perception of the past.
Persistence : Unwanted recollections that we can never forget.
A constant nagging of an unresolved memory that transmute the discernment of the individual.
These sins listed as above are a completely natural occurrence in the human mind and one should not be ashamed of it. Nevertheless, as you read through these words I hope that such knowledge of the faulty machinery of our brain should never interfere in our daily perceptions of the world. It is not in my authority to tell you how to use these information of the sins of our memory to improve your individuals life for I am still a student in such subject but as a member of this society I have the rights to at least theorize why there is such an unrest in the mental clarity.
There had been research on the Modalities of Memories, which is basically the sensory channels or pathways that an individual receive and store new information in his brain. These modalities or sense includes the Visual, Auditory, Tactile/Kinesthetic, smell and taste.
Researchers, including Reiff, Eisler, Barbe, and Stronck have concluded that in a classroom, the students would be approximately:
§ 25-30% visual
§ 25-30% auditory
§ 15% tactile/kinesthetic
§ 25-30% mixed modalities
Therefore, only 30% of the students will remember most of what is said in a classroom lecture and another 30% will remember primarily what is seen.
Visual learners are those who learn by seeing. They need to see overheads, diagrams, and read text books, etc. to understand a concept.
Auditory learners must hear what they are learning to really understand it. They enjoy listening, but cannot wait to have a chance to talk themselves. These students respond well to lecture and discussion.
Tactile/kinesthetic learners need to feel and touch to learn…these learners also learn better if movement is involved. They may be those students who are not doing well in school. Instruction geared to the auditory learner can be a hindrance to these learns, causing them to fall behind. One key reason at-risk children have trouble with school is that they tend to be these types of learners. About one-third of students do not process auditorially and are educationally deaf. Students with a tactile strength learn with manipulative such as games, the internet, and labs.
From such a study on how we human beings process new information, we can fully understand how sensitive our minds are when living throughout our daily lives. There are plenty of visual and auditory pollution that may alter your state of consciousness and your recollections on those memories. And if your individual personality consist of your episodic memories of your life story, then what story have it been? Has it been sponsored by Coca-Cola and Zara Clothing?
It may sound like a conspiracy theory when talking about the subject of the media influences on our mind through subliminal content but as mentioned about I can safely state that our process of memory recollection is very sensitive to outside influences. Therefore it might have been unintentional actions of the media party but such presences do corrupt our thoughts. Such contents streaming out of the mainstream media or our cyberspace activities creates too thick of distortions for our minds to think for ourselves without manipulation of ideas.
Silence is truly golden. With endless persuasions we have become dazed and confused with the abundance of both factual and fictitious information that it is increasingly easy for a person to fall prey to their own biological prisons of a human body. Our body is the temple of our souls as many religious and spiritual ideologies have long suggested and through science we understood how it is so. Our body is just a machinery flesh for our consciousness; it is a tool for our mind. It may be that our body creates the consciousness on its own or it may be that it is just a temporary state for our consciousness to rest in this lifetime before returning to the universe, such question is still in need of further exploration. Nevertheless it is understood that we must keep our body healthy and clean from any physical harms and we must do the same to our mind by cleaning out the dirt of emotional pornography before it becomes the very cage for our thoughts.
A trap mind leads to suffering of the soul, and reaching the freedom of happiness is a futile quest.
Mankind has created the illusion of Time. Time is just a mere abstract concept that we human intellectuals have designed for ourselves in order to comprehend the expanding nature of the universe. It is our way of making sense with our predicaments being stuck in the flow of entropy, where the perception of Time is linear in the form of cause and effect. This ideology of Time in such a straight progression is only strengthened by the Human Mind that constantly chronologicalized the events in your life in order to create an autobiography of your individuality and personality, thus your Timeline of Existence is the best definition of your Consciousness.
Science has yet to answer the origin of Consciousness, according to Stuart Hameroff “The origin of Consciousness reflects our place in the Universe, the nature of Existence. Did consciousness evolve from complex computations among the brain neurons as most scientist assert? Or has consciousness in some sense has been here all along as spiritual approach maintains?” Stuart Hameroff is currently testing his 20 years old theory of Consciousness named : Orchestrated Objective Reduction. In this theory he suggests that ‘consciousness derives from quantum vibrations in microtubules, protein polymers inside brain neurons, which both governs neuronal and synaptic function’. Basically it is a theory of Quantum Consciousness, that your brain acts like a radio antenna and that picks up the transmission of the Universe Consciousness, your brain also adds an unique beat to the frequency of that Universal Consciousness.
In addition to this there is also the idea of the Bodleian Loop Theory :
For More Info : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del,_Escher,_Bach
OR Watch This Interview with Stuart Hameroff :