Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Keeping memories

There's a paragraph in Scientific American Mind I can't stop thinking about. It's an interview with the neuroscientist Eric Kangel and the last question is: If you were granted one wish, what would it be?
And the answer:

I would like to know how some memories persist forever. How do you remember your first love experience for the rest of your life. Neuroscientist Kausik Si, then a postdoctoral fellow in my lab, and I discovered a protein called CPEB that has the very interesting characteristic of self-perpetuation. That might be a clue to how memory is sustained over long periods. But we don't know for sure yet.


It reminds me of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, one of my favourite films. I'm thinking now of a story about controlling memories. A character pressing his head every time he wants to remember something. The only trouble is, if he gets it wrong, he'll never be able to forget.

8 comments:

Alex said...

Ah yes. As I always say to the boys before bedtime, how happy is the blameless vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot.

My wish would be to have today every day as I've had a particularly nice time.

Holen Sabrina Kahn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Holen Sabrina Kahn said...

Makes me think of tapping the Jade Pillow. In tai-chi there is a warm up movement where one taps the spot where the neck meets the base of the scull - its called the jade pillow. The tapping is supposed to improve memory and mental acuity. I'm always tapping the Jade Pillow!

Sarah Salway said...

Be careful for what you wish, Alex! I would love to know what your boys think the 'blameless vestal' is, somehow I have an idea of what a kid might imagine - a kind of deflated football maybe?!

I like the sound of that exercise, Holen. And I remember you every time I pick up 'The Field Guide to Getting Lost' which I have been reading again recently!

Nik's Blog said...

Ooh yes, don't press too hard...

Nik

Calistro said...

Oooh that's one of my favourite films too. What good taste you have! ;o)

jem said...

I got very carried away thinking about memory after watching that film. It's a powerful business. Scary too - the things that stay and the things that dont.

In my anti-autobiographical dabblings I'm trying to actively remember the little things from my past. It's weird and wonderful so of the little snapshots that are coming back to me.

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