Monday, February 11, 2013

So What Is Hyperthymesia?.....Don't Worry....It Is Not Catching

Hyperthymesia – A Newly Discovered Memory In Which People Remember Every Day Of Their Lives



 I just recently read a mind boggling story on aol news.
It seems there is  this guy who can remember every minute of his life from almost the beginning.     I don't remember his name (though I remember reading somewhere that Marilou Henner of
"Taxi" had the gift too...one of about 7 in the world) but it hardly matters. what boggles the mind is......how much storage space in bits, bytes and megabytes does that string of recollections take? And further, how could our brains possibly hold that much info and the multiplication tables besides?  

I have recently been pondering the fact that it seems unlikely that that several pounds of grey stuff in our skulls could possibly hold all of our memories plus how to do long division.  I don't care how sophisticated our equipment is.........there just ain't enough room  for everything in there is my contention.

I am toying with the concept that nothing much is really stored in our brain as it exists in our skull.    We must have a storage source elsewhere that we can access, add to and, possibly delete from using just keywords to find the file.   Nothing else makes any sense whatsoever....... I don't care how incredible our brain is supposed to be.....no way can that small gray mushy, squiggly mass hold enough chips, no matter how small God made them, to hold all the info we use.  We must have a personal Google.....or Wikipedia......or perhaps a huge communal Google.  Yes, yes.  Seems I have read about such a thing in esoteric writings.  By gum, I am becoming convinced that it must  be so,  especially since our brains have major work to do aside from remembering stuff.  Haven't I heard that much of it is taken up with somewhat more important tasks  like regulating our various cells, organs and  bodily functions?  The way I am seeing it, there must be a small area in the brain for stuff I call very short term memory.....like when you look up a phone number and have to remember it long enough to dial it.  In my own case this area only rates a "D"  grade for quality and performance ...or is it just me who has to go back and look up the number several times or else admit defeat and write it down?  Anyway, aside from that area I see a section which I call Control panel.  It is filled with icons like your computer desktop or perhaps a thousand "apps" buttons.  When clicked upon, these take you to your files in the Cloud Computer where you can search ad infinitum for a gazillion memories or bits or chunks of information you have noted as worthy of saving. 

The guy with the incredible memory of his life must have been a very obsessive compulsive type who sort of wrote each day into his diary with all the minute detail like weather and what he ate and what his mother said to him at breakfast and he carefully filed each day away in the cloud by clicking on "save".    When he pushes the lifetime memories App and fills in a search key by date, his brain sends out to the cloud,  grabs the diary entry for that day in all its glory and downloads it into temp storage.  The rest of us are much less obsessed and only store the more special or memorable days or moments of our life in the cloud file.  And I must confess that to make my theory plausible, there must  be stuff that gets stored  by accident rather than design.

From my own experience I would say that what I've got stored in the cloud is more than enough......maybe in some cases too much.   For instance, I wish to hell I could forget the time in the 6th grade when I was feeling uncommonly devilish and found myself called upon to answer the question, "Why did the Founding Fathers choose  Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence?  
To this day I remember vividly the expression of horror, disbelief and disgust on Mrs. Huckins' face when her, up till then, favorite pupil disgraced herself and fell from grace forever.

Somehow, I simply could not control myself from answering, "Because he had the best handwriting." 

Sometimes memory sucks.

   

15 comments:

  1. Nah, your 6th grade memory is great!

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  2. Those embarassing moments are now called "teaching opportunities." Damn. They are more resonate and repeatable when they are embarassing.

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  3. You might be overthinking.

    I don't even try to remember a phone nbr, I go right to the pen and paper.

    If Mrs. Huckins didn't think that was funny, I feel sorry for her!

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  4. I think your 6th grade answer was perfect!!

    Since we regularly only use about 10% of our brain mass for day to day living, I'm not surprised that a rare few can tap into what else is there, and use it for such things ~

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  5. All teachers need a sense of humor. She must not have had one.

    As for hyperthymesia, there are times i wish i had it, and times i'm glad i don't.

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  6. Great post to ponder on for the rest of the day Lo.
    My faux pas was when I was a child in junior school and I thought the Lords Prayer said 'forgive us our christmase's' instead of trespasses and the teachers made me repeat it and then had a good laugh. I've never forgotten it.
    I would love to be able to wipe certain things out of my brain it is far too full of junk that I don't want. lol
    Briony
    x

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  7. Uh, huh, and the pledge of alliegance ends,"Good Afternoon, Sister!"

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  8. I definitely had that sinking school moment when an exam question asked who all the politicians were in "Animal Farm". I thought it was a boring animal story about some really nasty animals...

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  9. I suspect you got the right answer. As for your musings about the workings of the brain I was going to make a very good point - but I have forgotten what it was.

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  10. Well though I doubt if its true if it was I'd probably not like it. At least remembering all the bad stuff in detail wouldn't be such fun....

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  12. It seems there are more than 50 folks to date that they have found who can do this. The character Sheldon on BIG Bang Theory is supposed to have this sort of recall. People with this disorder or geniuos have trouble making social connections with real ordinary folks.

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  13. I think that fits best with Darwinian man. As I recall the theory, Neanderthal survived through collective memory of the past but little forward thinking. Would have to actually have to talk with these folks to see how their lives are affected. Neanderthal also wasn't known for his social skills -- wait! I think I dated him!

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