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When I get time, I listen to music, or read books. If any is left, I blog!

Monday, 27 February 2006

Absent Minded Professor!

My grandma was fond of tying knots - neat and tiny ones in a corner of her scarf! As a child, I found it amusing, a bit puzzling too. One day, she agreed to unravel the mystery, if only I promised to learn new things like a big boy. I was all ears, as she started explaining.

'When guests are expected, I would tie in one knot. That reminds me to buy an extra liter of milk,' she said. 'The day I have to pick you up from school instead of your mom, I would put a bigger knot. Big, because I can't afford to forget'. With a smile she continued. 'I tie knots, different in size and number for different things. Now, see how easy it is to remember...'

Decades later, I realized why grandma had the reputation in the family, as one who never forgot!

Inability to remember when needed, is a common occurrence. But it can be avoided. I will show you a way, not just to retain what you learn, but also to recall whenever you want.

This write-up, which I prepared for an online school months back, will appear here in four parts.  And believe me - Never again will you curse that 'innocent' memory of yours!

Now, read on...

You might have heard these statements, uttered one time or the other by every one of us!

  • 'It's as if it happened yesterday. I'll never forget it'.
  • 'Wait. It's at the tip of my tongue. Let me recollect'.
  • 'I know for sure, but I don’t seem to remember'.
The first one tells how vivid the memory of an experience encountered years ago has remained in your mind. In the second, you sense an effort to reach out into the past. The last is however, a case of failure to remember.

Call these patterns of recall as Free, Forced, and Faded respectively. The question that arises is, how do these patterns emerge? Do we have any control over them? Can we change them at will?

The subject of Memory is vast. Scientific attempts to unravel its many mysteries are still continuing, throwing up new and interesting theories. My endeavour is not to teach you, but familiarize you with the core theme of Memory and Memory-building.

Bear in mind these three maxims:-
  • Practice makes you Perfect. It has no known substitute, even in memory-building! 
  • Memory-building tools are at best indicative. They help you devise your own technique to meet specific requirements. 
  • Inability to remember due to physiological factors, calls for expertise of a different kind.
What is Memory?

In simple terms, it is the ability of the mind to remember the past.  We encounter countless bits of information every day, and often retrieve them automatically (Free Recall). When the retrieval occurs after a conscious effort (Forced Recall), we credit it to a sharp memory. Failure to remember in spite of all efforts (Faded Recall) sets us thinking about memory lapses, and ways to eliminate it. 

Why do we need to remember?

Memory is like oxygen to life. Without memory, we possess no identity, no relevance, and no orientation. We will not learn or acquire any skill, information, or knowledge. Faces, places and things seen once, will appear strange. Life will merely be a meaningless aggregate of unfamiliar, unrelated, and unremembered events.

Remembering is a continuous activity with complex dimensions. It starts at the sensory organs, taking in all that we see, hear, touch, smell, and taste. The sensations then move into memory. But, how much of it is retained there, and for how long, are questions still being debated. 

1 comment:

  1. My eldest brother had once taught me that memory is kept or stored in our brain like cardex and can be extracted with some efforts.
    Human beings and a few animals depend on past references like human being will depend on what it has seen or heard in the past and always would try to match the fresh experience with old reference like a dog will match a fresh smell with an old smell.Like new substance is entering in to its teritory it will resist it by barking because its memory would not recognise it and hence it dreads it.
    Therefore,memory is very important faculty for most of the living creatures.We must sharpen it by either tying knots or pinching our ears,especially under the present situation when we tend to lose all our memories for few piecse of green coloured specially printed papers.
    Got it? Get it and remember it