How does memory work and why?
Perhaps it was the opening credits with the giant Imperial warship shooting at the tiny luxury ship. Or the spiralling stars when the Millenium Falcon plunged into hyperdrive. Perhaps the image of the desert on Tatooine? Maybe it was Chewbacca playing holographic chess, or maybe the final explosion of the Death Star. I know I always picture the scenes that take place in the weapons locker and garbage disposal.
Why do those particular memory images, or your own images, come to mind? Obviously, your brain decided to put those images in the “instant retrieval” queue for some reason. Perhaps the particular scene was funny, or sad, or just plain interesting; and your subconscious decided you might have a need to retrieve that particular memory easily.
I think sometimes we actually “force” the memories to be available for instant retrieval by thinking, “I need to remember this”. Doing so, I believe, forces our subconscious to override its default programming. But, most of the time it seems like the storage and eventual retrieval of the memory is associated with a particular emotional state.
Maybe the goal of the subconscious, when it comes to memories, is to show you a “movie trailer” synopsis of your life when the proverbial “My life passed in front of my eyes” moment occurs.
Now, think back on your past. Try to go chronologically. Don’t force it, just let it happen. You’ll have certain memories jump to the front without really trying – they are just there. Perhaps you were happy at the time, or embarrassed, or scared, or excited. Or, it might be one of those moments you intentionally instructed your subconscious to save the memory. I think you might be surprised at which memories come up, even if you have no idea why.
Here’s why I started wondering about this. I am “50-something” years old. When my mind wanders and I’m feeling a bit nostalgic and pondering my past, it does not feel like I have 50+ years worth of memories. So, I started thinking about certain periods in my life, and certain images (like file clips) started appearing in my head.
Like the lunch table in kindergarten when we ate “sugar rice” (I still gag a little when thinking about eating that because I hated it). Or, the reading circle in 3rd grade when I was promoted from the 2nd reading group to the 1st (or whatever the names were). Obviously, that memory pops up because I was proud.
Many other memories bubbled up to the surface – like sporting events, music performances, graduations, my wedding, death of a baby, adoption of our son, memories about his life, and so on. These could be called memory bubbles or memory clips. Without a doubt, these clips pop up because they were important, or at least my subconscious determined them to be important.
While experiencing this memory loop, it did really feel like I was watching a movie trailer.
- Our Subconscious Is Listening(miraclemadness.wordpress.com)
- Why ideas pop into your head when youre trying to fall asleep(lifehacker.com)
- Golfish Memory(woahmolly.com)
- Graffiti called ‘Memory’(khushbudani.wordpress.com)