Friday, June 11, 2010

On memory

One of the many (many) webcomics I read on a regular basis, Sodium Eyes, had a particularly apt way of putting something that I've been aware of for a long time. In this strip, the character Miya states that "our brains have such a staggering capacity for knowledge, but the indexing method is way off"—or, to put it in a way that's more in line with the subject of this blog, our brains are like enormous libraries with terrible librarians. The sight of a particular object—a tricycle, say—might trigger a memory from years or even decades ago of another tricycle, or a tricycle that you saw a child riding, or a movie with a tricycle in it. Sometimes, these sense memories can be pleasant reminders of things gone past: a particular brand of hand soap (Dial, I think?) always takes me back to my paternal grandmother's home.

But sometimes it's unbelievably frustrating to be reminded of something, some random image or object from your past, without knowing what exactly it is you're reminded of. Just recently, for kicks, I rewatched one of the songs from The Princess and the Frog on YouTube, and in it there's a bit where one character holds up an oyster shell with a pearl inside. This reminded me of, I think, a video game where your character has to grab a pearl from an oyster down on the ocean floor—but I don't know which game. So for the past few days, I've been wracking my brains trying to piece together this memory-reference—was it a 2-D sidescroller? was it adventure, or action? did I play it, or did I see someone else play it? was it on a computer or a console?—but to no avail. It's slowly driving me insane.

Okay, insane-er.

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