6 Jan 2005

Sans-graphic Memory

Posted by Oblivion in General | 4:55am

How would life have been if our memory were not photographic? Human memory, for the most part, relies on stored 'images'. The encoding process is strongly linked with the 'association' corresponding to a particular image. There's almost no storing of sense-data. So, when someone 'remembers' an experience, he is simply fetching the appropriate imagery and, more importantly, the 'associations' for the same. While the imagery helps one 'see' the experience, the associations decide the corresponding emotion generated as a result.

However, not all memory is photographic (it appears to me); nonetheless, the memory that we frequently use is. The entire repository of emotion depends, for its effective fucntioning, on only photographic memory. For example, our recollection of basic historical data or theorems in mathematics hardly engenders any recognisable emotion. On the other hand, one can say with a fair amount of confidence that envy cannot be triggered if the mind does not 'recall or construct images' relating to an issue. Same applies to other emotions as well. One feels hatred not directly for the person or an issue, but for the 'mental construction' of the subject in question. Emotion depends not on the subject directly, but on the 'association'.

Looking at it, the edifice of emotion would completely crumble if human memory were not photographic. That also implies the transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next would have been impossible, or at most, absolutely difficult.

Hypothetical but interesting!

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