I’ve just finished The river of consciousness by Oliver Sacks and, yesterday, I was reading a part about memories.
My brain started drifting through my memories which are very faded for the most part. Ever so rarely something comes back to me so vividly, but mostly I do not rember much of what happened. I do not think much about the past, even the near past. Something a month before today is ancient history already.
In this light, I realized I haven’t really thought about my childhood in years. My parents talked to me a bit about it last year, but about when I was a baby as I have a lot of friends with babies and this subject comes up quite often.
However, I do not look back much to my childhood. I actually avoid it to be honest. I haven’t had a bad childhood, but I had some moments that were bad and I kinda wiped everything from my mind.
Lately, I’ve set out to unlock some of the things my mind has blocked. A great victory over my brain is being able to use people’s names during a conversation. I do not know how weird or common this is, but I could not use people’s names during conversations. Furthermore, I did not retain people’s names. I used to think it was a memory issue. Turns out, my memory is fine.
Anyway, at some point in the book Sacks mentions that memories are actually inaccurate reproductions of the actual event and that every time we remember something we actually recreate it and modify it. Each rememberance of an event is a reinvention of that event. Scary, when I think about how much I remebered the events from the summer of 2019 and how clear they seem to me, but which are probably the most inaccurate memories I have as they most likely ended up being productions of my imagination rather than the actual events.
In this light, my memories from childhood might be quite accurate since I haven’t thought about them in …more than a decade…
Yesterday, I had a moment unique in my life and this is why I wanted to write all this.
It lasted just a few seconds, but it was really powerful. I was trying to remember something about my childhood that would be more than snapshots and at one point I transported myself to my 9 years old self in the garden at my parents house (it felt like I was actually there, pretty surreal) and as I looked at the sky, I found myself back in my room working on my art.
I had a really nice feeling, like my 9 years old self would be proud of me or something.
I was thinking that I would like to tap into my childhood memories, but I think I would need professional help to get anything more than snapshots of anything that happend and to make a difference between hearsay and what I actually remember.
Speaking of snapshots, Sacks also talks about our visual perceptions and how we might actually take snapshots that combine on the brain to create the whole picture. This makes sense to me since my memories are like that or they are more like remnants of that.