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Do You Remember Yesterday?
It was red with silver stripes, had rusty spokes and a tear on the left side of the seat. Yes, I remember my first bike very vividly. Although it was over forty years ago I can still remember every last detail as if it were yesterday. The funny thing is that I cannot remember everything that actually happened yesterday!
How do we have the ability to instantly recall the finest of details from long ago? Do our brains selectively store certain information but not all information? If so, how do we differentiate the memories we want to keep from the ones that are discarded?
As a young boy navigating parochial school, much of what I retained was from negative reinforcement. Forget to do your homework? A good slap to the rear with a big ruler guaranteed you would not forget again. This of course may not have been the best method for training our memory but it did seem effective.
There were however, the life lessons we learned. No, not the one about touching the hot stove - that’s another story: http://kevinc9998.hubpages.com/hub/Hey-Thats-Hot What I am referring to are the lessons from which we grow and learn. Memories like our first kiss and subsequently our first heart-break. These are the types of experiences that have molded us into the adults we are today.
Do our brains somehow categorize our memories in order of importance? Certainly most of us would remember all of the joyous occasions like our wedding, the birth of a child or the purchase of our first home. But what about the not so great times like getting fired from a job or the loss of loved one? Are these things ever really forgotten? If so, are we unintentionally suppressing them?
What about memories of guilt? Do they remain with us because of a guilty conscious? Should we be absolved to release these memories or do we need them because they made us who we are today? While the experts speculate, it is we who lie awake thinking these deep thoughts. We may never know the true answers.
Now, where did I leave my car keys?