Our brain is incredible and scary.

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Our brain is incredible and scary.

Postby Sylan » Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:03 am

We are basically machines. Immeasurably fast machines, the size of your skull, capable of processing an ocean of data within milliseconds. Isn't that incredible? I've been thinking, though. Hear me out: Every time you remember something, every time you think of the past and bring up memories, regardless of their nature, you are rewriting it. You rewrite the memory and save it, overriding the old 'file'. Now, our brain automatically fills in the gaps with reasonably contextualized data to try to create something intelligible; but think about it. Every time you bring up an old memory your brain is filling in the gaps with information that may or may not be accurate. Isn't that scary? Your past life is ultimately your construct. The brain doesn't do well with ambiguities. Think about a past memory, think about the color of the pair of pants you wore a year ago; this if the memory is vivid enough that you can tell the color of your pants you were wearing, of course. Your pants might not have been the color you're attributing it. I've had a lot of situations in which I remembered, and was consciously certain of, a scenario of my past only to be corrected by my parents to what actually happened, which might not even be accurate. It's so fascinating but really scary, too. Our life is a never-ending game of telephone. Traumatic memories are especially prone to be... tweaked. If you continuously nag on a single thought or memory, you're rewriting it at an incredible rate, making it statistically more likely to become inaccurate. The problem is that for every gap there's going to be an even wider gap and it just snowballs to the point where memories are no longer credible. Just think about it, there might be people in jail because of memories of eyewitnesses who had their files overridden many times in the wrong places; it's not their fault, though, the eyewitnesses haven't had their memories purposely sabotaged, it's their brain's natural response to complete their reality into something tangible. It's a big evolutionary advantage too, it means your brain doesn't need to hold and as much information as it just tries to make conjectures instead: on a primitive level, conjectures are enough for survival. It makes everything much faster and gives us the illusion of a great long-term memory. It also makes it so we don't have to have brains the size of a basketball, the brain doesn't save as much information because it will just create assumptions based on whatever it managed to store.

Oh man, okay I'm getting a bit carried away. Just something I had in my mind that I really needed to dump somewhere so here it is! I'm sure there's a lot more to it than just write and rewrite, I might start looking for scientific articles about this because I'm genuinely intrigued. Oh my, it's 3 in the morning and here I am, haunted by my own lingering gibberish; It seems I'm not sleeping tonight, haha.

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Our brain is incredible and scary.

Postby Kurtis » Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:02 pm

I think you're pretty much bang on the money! It is amazing what this planet can do and what nature herself can actually achieve and it's often understated and underappreciated by people in general. Apart of that is life and how it can compute life situations in a manner of milliseconds which, a lot of time in nature, is all you have to survive anyway if a threat is present. Like a mouse being stalked by an eagle, the only chance a mouse would have on the evolutionary scale to survive is to quickly compute where the nearest safest place is, how long it'll take him to get there and how long approximately before the eagle will reach him. I don't believe for a moment that what you're describing is limited to humans by any means possible; I have a really tough time being convinced by other people who see animals as nothing more than meat and flesh and a set of commands in nature (most of the time, it's like the human in question is like that himself).

Memory is quite a fascinating concept. One must realise that the past no-longer exists. Nor does the future. Beings have the concept and the context of learning about the past and ensuring that important present information is stored for future reference; like a child, their curiosity will lead them venturing into often very dangerous situations, but will remember not to put themselves there again. For example, think of a fire in a standard and typical family home, if a child (heaven forbid) gets too close to a fire and burns himself, the child will be in immense pain for a short while and that'll teach him both on a conscience and sub-conscience level that fires are dangerous and that he should refrain from going too near them again. Of course, sometimes (especially in the wilderness) a young 'thing' can get a little too curious and he'll pay the consequence by being killed in one way or another. It's unfortunate but such is the circle of life on that front. It'll teach the witness of such an event (for example a sibling) to be a lot more cautious. Of course, the parent would in most cases try to defend their young in such a situation as well if they're around. Like Wildebeest gathering together to protect their young from lions trying to get at the easy meat. It's a pretty fascinating subject as and of itself, and it just goes to show that animals (as well humans, despite what most seem to say these days) aren't stupid.

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