One of the central elements of our humanity is our ability to remember. Through memory we access an unlimited theatre of thoughts and experience from our unconscious. But why do we have a memory, and how does it work?
It’s a funny thing, is memory. In many ways I think it is peculiarly human, in that we have a conscious and unconscious mind. Most animals are thought to work through instinct, as if controlled at a species level.
The thing that separates us from the animals is our technology, and to become the technologist, we needed the ability to remove thoughts from our conscious in order to concentrate on a task in hand, thus needing a memory store we call the unconscious.
We couldn’t ‘be’ without this, for it seems that when we sense the world, everything that can be sensed enters the unconscious. In other words, we see, hear, smell and feel everything. It is this factor that, I’m sure, lies behind much of what we call the paranormal.
But if we ‘remembered’ all of this all of the time, we would suffer information overload, making it impossible for us to concentrate. Hence, we have a ‘filter’ which selects only the information we want at that particular time.
Perhaps this is why different people have very selective views of what they experience, even their beliefs being based upon this selectiveness. Maybe if this ‘mechanism’ was better understood, we would learn to understand, and tolerate, others more.
© Anthony North, April 2008