Random-Access Memories

(October 16, 2009)

Memories are strange, alien things; they feel so familiar, gliding through us like wind-pulled waves cresting above the sea of our minds, but they're not, not really. Fragments of truth are in there, just enough to pull us in, but there's so much subjectivity and outright neural deceit blended in with them that they can never really be trusted. Every specific moment of recollection involves a different camera angle, characters wearing different clothing - if we happen to glance at such minute details at all; they could be bare below the waist and we'd never notice, unless this happened to be a memory in which nudity was expected - and an ever-shifting cascade of volatile emotional responses. Sometimes a memory makes us happy; sometimes it fills us with a sense of nostalgic self-flagellation. Perhaps this depends on our mood and our perceptions at any given moment - perhaps it is the present which is so variable, not the past - but I'm suspicious, all the same.

No, you can't trust a memory as far as you can throw it, and that's even considering the fact that memories are flickers of electrical activity without a throwable physical form.