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Panmnesia

Updated on September 26, 2014

A Philosophical/Informative Poem

Remembering things is inflated with concepts.

To forget seems so coveted by people who are depressed and/or anxious, but when it comes down to it, they would rather keep their memory, because forgetting to most humans is like losing our identity (neuroscience has a large body of evidence that we remember who we are).

The thought of being able to remember everything at first glance by most seems so sapid, but if we give time to evaluate it, we will think of its ramifications.

Having panmnesia means you remember everything, but what is everything?

Isn't everything different for each person?

It's everything that you've encountered.

There's panmnesia at one level like an eidetic memory (maybe an eidetic memory isn't quite as encompassing) and then panmnesia in a strict sense where you remember everything, but some of your memories are hard to access at least clearly (most of us experience this phenomenon).

If we could be panmnesiac in the strict sense, then would we be?

Would we really want to access all our memories consciously? Do we have any idea whether or not this would be bearable?

What we tend to automatically go to if we had such a memory is how smart we would appear, but haven't we already seen great minds with normal and even kind of bad memories in some cases?

The good thing about remembering everything consciously is the fact that we remember the tools that work to deal with our bad memories. Even if we suffered severe trauma, we would remember how to handle it.

Our clinging to our memory is not just about smarts, but there is something at least at the physical level occurring when we lose our memory like seen in dementia, which ends up affecting us mentally.

So, it is understandable why we cling to memory, especially subconsciously.

What is memory? Memory is a record of things.

Given that neuroscience and psychology have both discovered that the memory isn't always reliable (confabulation, minimal oneirataxia (mixing dreams with reality), paramnesia (now I don't think all instances of deja vu are like this, but there are some when one thinks they are experiencing deja vu when really it's a mix up in the function of the memory, etc.), it helps in trying to determine if remembering everything is possible and if one could do it accurately. You're not a panmnesiac if you have confabulated memories. Confabulated memories are just fitting in pieces in memory gaps to make your memory(ies) coherent.

If panmnesia is possible, then how would we know? If the memory has failed before, then how can we trust it? Well, panmnesia doesn't mean a perfect memory at least in my opinion, but it means (to me) that whatever has been recorded has remained unchanged enough to be considered a record of all that a person has encountered.

The memory really is important, but I do believe that there have been some misconceptions about its significance.





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