Stream of Consciousness – mostly unedited, you have been warned.

I often write blog posts or journal entries in my head while I’m driving, and nine out of ten times when I get to my computer/notebook, I’ve gotten so distracted in the interim that I have no idea what I’d put together.

I’m telling you this because it’s just happened.

(It’s a bit of an ADD sort of day for me, too, so get ready for parenthetical tangents.)

(It’s odd to me that contractions are acceptable, in informal settings at least, but “contracontractions” aren’t. Like, we always say it’s not been, or it hasn’t been, but never it’s’nt been. I like it’s’nt been. It’s kinda like the interrobang. . . but not really.)

I know I was eating lunch and I was reading a book called, Mastermind, by Maria Konnikova, which I’ve been leisurely picking my way through for a while, and I recently picked up GEB again (someday I’ll finish it, and then I’ll have to go back and re-read it). I was reading about Sherlock’s “brain attic,” which I explored after that glorious scene with Benedict Cumberbatch and Elvis on BBC’s Sherlock. (How many references can I make in one post you ask? Never ask me that.) That was back when I was taking Astronomy in University, so the main thing I correlate that research to is that I have one room in my “mind palace” which is our back, guest bedroom in my childhood home where Blue (from Blue’s Clues) is running around the room chasing a rogue Dorito. (Blue shift moves toward you, red shift moves away. Forget the Alamo, I’m just gonna remember the Doppler Effect!)

I remember thinking about memory. As that is what I was reading about. Recently my memory has been a thing on my mind anyway (again). I have an outstanding (?) memory. Here’s the thing. I’ve mostly hated it. Other than the fact that I never had to study, well, ever, (I did start “studying” in college, but I really didn’t need to in order to pass, so maybe I wasn’t the total slacker I’ve often thought myself to be . . .) not many good things have come out of my ability to remember. This is partly due to the inherent workings of memory, and partly due to my understanding of the way memory works, and, alas, also a part of it is to do with social interactions. (Perhaps my least favorite thing ever?)

Memories. All alone in the moonlight . . . no, but seriously. I don’t have a photographic memory, boy would life be interesting if I did, but I do have a memory that, at the least, seems to work differently than most. I see snipits in great detail, but sometimes surrounded by large amounts of fuzziness. Of course, a lot of memory has to do with MTR, as Konnikova puts it, Motivation to Remember, and that definitely still applies to me, but I think a lot more slips in.

Sometimes when I’m asked to recall something, it’s as though the information is stored on a video cassette and in order to access the exact information, I literally have to rewind or, sometimes, just watch the events surrounding it take place. It can take a mo, where, more often than not, the questioner loses patience and assumes I don’t know. It’s not like they can see what happens in my head, all the data I’m pouring through, to them, I’ve just gone blank-stare-mode.

And even when I remember things in great detail, with extreme clarity, hell, I don’t even know (here comes the solipsism, my apologies) if anything outside of my brain truly exists. We process very little and then our brains fill in the rest. How do I even know if what I saw at the time was true, let alone if I’m remembering it with precision?! It’s a quite frustrating situation, to have ample proof from the past that your memory is quite keen, but to doubt everything you know and see at the same time.

So, I mentioned that memory has been on mind a lot lately, because recently it came in handy, and I was praised, but also, I know, questioned, judged, I’m not sure exactly, it all made me feel very odd. Here I was being told, wow, you remember! Thanks! That’s so helpful, and feeling also: that’s not how I remember it, I don’t think so, that can’t be right. So I’m doubting myself, and remembering (haha) why I stopped publicly reproducing data, answering questions in class, etc.

But living like that is so frustrating. In fact, I’m realizing just how much frustration goes into my daily life. I withdraw because it’s less painful. I consider (mostly idly) using substances just in order to dull things and gain some peace. I consider anything that might extrapolate me from these feelings of frustration, from social expectations to be less than I am, and that might allow my intense need to utilize my brain to be, for once and all, satiated. I’m in a near constant state of frustration, and I’ve never even noticed. I can’t speak up, but I can’t stay silent, so I do things, things I sometimes regret, or I sit in my room and write about it, or sometimes it’s so intense that it literally needs to become physical. I need to scream or pull my hair, or bounce up and down just to get the frustration out.

I was frustrated today. I hope it didn’t show. Then later, when thinking about these things I’ve been dwelling on and reading about, I realized that I need to use my abilities. I need to maximize my capacity, and I don’t know how. I sometimes start thinking about grad school. (I was researching it again the other day, at the University of Memphis I found the IIS, and, woah, NASA has a Cognition Lab.) Unfortunately, I’m a perfectionist, and the if-I’m-not-perfect-I’m-a-failure trap starts to kick in, thus I doubt my abilities and think I might as well not even try because I’ll never be good enough. Also, I start to go into my Is Higher Education Even Worth It? thought pattern. Ugh.

But back to my day, I had another errand to run, so my mind was, fortunately, given a break while I searched for tiny candy canes and red ribbon.

(There was also a brief moment in the car where I was arguing with the radio DJ about the definition of action in regards to his question for Fact or Bull about how many minutes of action are there on average in a football game. He proposed approx. eleven. Fact or Bull? I didn’t end up hearing the answer. Probably for the best.)

It was after this errand that I started thinking about what to post on here. I just don’t remember what it was I wanted to say.

No, that’s a lie. I do remember. It was intellectual intensity. It was about OEs again. I wanted to try to find a post I’d discussed them on previously to link to. I wanted to talk to you all about the physical manifestations (I did actually mention that above.) I had some ideas, and then I got home and I wrote some nice notes in some Christmas cards for my friends, and then I sat down at my computer and I tried to remember what it was I wanted to talk about.

Consciousness is fascinating. They talk about the stream of it. I don’t know if that’s a perfect metaphor. Maybe.

You know what I didn’t do? I didn’t make a reference to Alice or Adams. It’s just been more of a Sherlock sort of day, I guess.


One thought on “Stream of Consciousness – mostly unedited, you have been warned.

  1. I too am blessed, cursed, with an outstanding memory but for the most part operates in ways other than you have described here. ‘Sometimes when I’m asked to recall something, it’s as though the information is stored on a video cassette and in order to access the exact information, I literally have to rewind or, sometimes, just watch the events surrounding it take place.’
    This is rarely me, although sometimes I do need to find a particular context in order to retrieve the memory. What continues to astonish me is how, on certain weird occasions, a subject arises and it will elicit memories of events, people, names, places, etc., that just appear, frighteningly like that old game of fortune telling with a plastic 8-ball. You ask the question and turn the ball over. An answer floats up to appear in the window.In my case, the answer is either exactly right, or there’s a connection between the not correct answer and the real on that I can usually ferret out. Sometimes, on one level, I know the answer is right, but I don’t know why I know it’s right. If that makes sense. Other times, I do know more of the context and can place it with out hesitation.
    Most time my memories are certain, clear and in context. Wah! I’ve discovered the three c’s.
    Mention of an idea, movies, author, etc., will bring up connections between the topic at hand and something I might have read anywhere from earlier in the day to more than 30 years ago. I have discovered most people are very uncomfortable with that. I can only speculate that it makes them uneasy and perhaps even start to question the deterioration of their own memory. But theirs is probably fine and the same as always, just like mine has remained as keen as before.
    I have long ago moved on from the solipsism as leading into a never-ending, closed circle that is the equivalent of nowhere.
    Here’s a compound question: how do you feel about the recently publicized ‘memory games’ where people memorize a deck of cards backwards? Is this a specialty that is isolated from the rest of their lives or are they phenomenal on an everyday basis as well?

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