So real like life itself. How many times have you been introduced to someone who said he/she has met you before and you DO NOT REMEMBER HIM/HER?…His/her name, the place you met him/her for the first time, who introduced each other..how embarassing! In front of such affirmation and seing the person is so sure we have met before, we desperatly acces our SHORT AND LONG TERM MEMORY, and any type of memory available, trying to find a way out from that uncomfortable situation. And the person goes on with total confidence…
”I remeber you perfectly”..on that occasion your hair were very long and straight…an eternity ago! The total lost expression in your face betrays you and in that moment, with your best smile and absolute sincerity you reply back “ I believe you are mistaking me for someone else…I have never worn my hair that long..” But the other person insists: I am ready to bet on whatever you want that it was you..let me focus on it and recall more details”
Do you remember me?
This scene can be very common and it can happen while you are queuing at the restaurant´s toilet or as it happened to me, during a postgraduate seminar. What are the factors influencing our ability to REMEMBER OR FORGET?
The classification and selection is extremely wide. The only certainty is that we all have a point of reference: we classify and labell our situations based on the COLLECTIVE MEMORY, on something generic, to then filter it through more concrete aspects based on our SELECTIVE MEMORY. I give you an example; when I refer to a table and recognise it as such, it is because I was taught, at a very early age, that any surface in a square, round, rectangular hexagonal shape and supported by four legs, refers to the concept of what has been collectively defined as a “ table”.
I will be more specific: if in my memory the concept of “table” is associated with family´s reunions and those reunions were connected to PLEASANT EMOTIONS like happiness and love, it is very likely I will have strong positive feelings, not only with tables in general, but with those decorated and well presented. This pleasant concept will be strongly related to a sequence of EMOTIONAL ATTIDUDES too ( tables-reunions-family/friends-sharing-wellbeing).
It is very probable that now you are asking yourself what a “ table” has to do with remembering or not remembering someone.. Well, as the human mind is very prodigious, the person who remembered me and saw me wearing long straight hair till the belt, was right.
Suddenly the information I was looking for in my mental archive was fully available in my memory…Gosh, Inma, this girl was right. The mental picture was now clear like the blue sky; a fancy dress party, in Madrid, ages ago and the topic of the party was the sixties.. a hippies´night. There, I was wearing long black hair till the belt, a wig…but of course it was me..!
Collective Memory-Selective Memory
I have always been eager to know the reasons and the whys of everything around me. I was a very curious girl and considered unstoppable for my parents, asking them questions day and night… Luckily this has not changed with the time, I am still the one and so I asked myself straight away “Why did you not remeber it, on the contrary, you were denying it from the beginning”? The aswer was as fast as the question; “ I forgot about that period of my life simply because I had ASSOCIATED IT TO UNPLEASANT FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS and uncousciously I had storaged those archives deep, very deep down in my mind. It is said that distance is synonim of FORGETTING..and we may believe so, but there is always someone or something able to make us revive that moment. Without hesitation, I approached the girl who recognised me from the beginning, I gently tapped her on the shoulder to get her attention and told her “ now I remember ..we did meet before and yes I had long black hair, a wig though. It was me, even if I was dressed up in a fancy way it was still me.
Sometimes we manage to DRESS UP AND ANESTHETISE OUR PERCEPTIONS so much that we are able to live for real, moments that have never occured, in the same way we manage to bury others so deep in our hearts, that we could swear they never took place or we conveniently distort their memory.
We believe what we want to believe
The SENSES are always at our service but they are controlled by our central navigator, THE MIND, which is so powerful, able to make us believe what we want to believe, transforming it into an absolute truth. The story, I have just told you, is the tangible proof of something I have lived personally.
When we are ready and it is the right time to dust those old memories, then there will be an event helping us to do it. It is like placing a cosmic order from our SUBCONSCIOUS MIND: “dear universe, now I am prepared to store that situation I had almost forgotten in a proper way..the event itself is not so important as the way I felt; as the personal EMOTIONAL MEMORIES involved. Now they are cured and I have understood…so I am able to store them healed and healthy.
I close this post with a riddle “ it LOOKS LIKE gold and IS not silver…guess quickly and tell me what it is. ( plata-no = plantain, a fruit similar to banana…plata in Spanish is SILVER, NO is used to form the negative NOT , ES = is (from the verb SER = to be) so that PLATA-NO-ES translates into IS PLANTAIN)
Do you dare to put your absolute truths on trial?