The writer is very interested on how memories work because he feels the root of people suffering is the Past (in other words the Time). It seems the past has the capacity to affect us in the psychological field by means of memories, hasn’t it?
So how does the physical brain work?
I have some quite superficial knowledge on how memories work physically. It seems that there is an unconscious recording of experiences in the form of memories which doesn’t stop while the organism is alive. It’s also known that memories are encoded by means of connections between neurons (electrical synapses). Scientists haven’t decrypted this code. It’s also somehow known that there are several types of memories and they are located in different parts of the brain. Also it seems that there is an eternally changing environment inside the brain, where memories are strong and fade while time goes by. It’s both complicated and not clear what exactly happens.
How do memories work Psychologically?
What i care the most isn’t about the physical process of memory. The important question for the writer is how memory acts psychologically. We’ve all experienced memories that don’t seem to affect us psychologically, they don’t bring any emotions like sadness or pleasure while other are quite painful or pleasant. Why all these happen?
So you experience something and a memory of the experience is naturally recorded.. if you don’t observe, if you aren’t aware of the experience as well as the emotional reaction to this experience, the moment it takes place, you are necessarily lost in the pain or pleasure caused by the experience. It seems then that a psychological registering of the memory takes place. So the experience doesn’t exist but its memory is there not only physically but psychologically.. this psychological registering looks like an intellectual acceptance that this memory is somehow important though it refer to something that doesn’t exist anymore (the experiencing).. in other words registering is an identification with the memory. Believing that this memory is important, the memory appears again and again reproducing the same or similar emotional effect that the initial experience brought and thus the memory remains active and therefore powerful. A good suggestion is that once the memory is frequently recalled it won’t be degenerated, it won’t fade.. exactly like a muscle that is used frequently which seems to be healthy and strong.
Now what happens when passive observation/awareness takes place when the experience happens? It seems that though the natural recording of the memory takes place, the triviality of the memory is revealed. Thus memory fails to convince you its important and you almost don’t recall it at all.. so its a memory condemned to disuse.. such disuse seems to also have a physical impact in memory which gradually degenerates even physically.
“Bad” news is in the moment of crisis/challenge the energy of awareness/observation is usually absent.. this bring the psychological registering of the memory.. now what do we do? Are we condemned in an eternal torture by the psychological recalling of memory? The answer is simple and is given by awareness.. it seems that if passive observation takes place once a memory of a painful experience arises, such observation drains the memory’s energy.. the memory will probably come back again and again but if this passive observation is present, the initial belief that the memory is crucial is dissolving (de-identification).. so again the memory falls in disuse and gradually fades.
The most recent example is a fact that happened in Athens once i was coming back from London to my island.. it was one of the most traumatic experiences i’ve ever had. I was excited with my walk in a dark alley at around midnight when a quite exasperated guy that was looking like bodybuilder attacked me and threatened me in order to give him my luggage, my wallet and my mobile phone.. the shock was huge, i was shocked by his raw brutality, the massive violence (though the feeling was mostly sadness rather than anger). I admit the energy of observation was absent during that experiencing the moment it was unfolding. The memory of the fact was very painful in the beginning but i didn’t try to suppress it or avoid it.. i was just observing.. the memory was coming again and again and initially the pain and fear was intense but surprisingly it started fading.. this moment, 2 weeks later, i may recall the memory but fear /pain/sadness is absent.. and the physical memory itself starts to fade because of the rare recalling.
Interesting, isn’t it?