28 September, 2009

Taj Mahal...

So my musings from last time got us talking. Horrible habit to have I know. But Anne and I started to talk about memory. Do you remember those memories from childhood? The foggy ones that you know are a big part of you, but aren't quite clear? Or maybe you have a memory from a time you were too young to recall but that you've heard the story of a million times over. Now you have a "memory" of the event, complete with visuals which you've never in fact seen. It's amazing what the mind can fabricate, that memory may as well be a cartoon.
More so with two or more people's minds at work. Context, personality, bias... Such a potent froth. And we're often not even aware of it at play...

Say a word and the association your mind makes is often visual. Say "taj mahal" and you conjure it up in your mind.
But maybe the taj in your mind is not the same as the one in mine?

And maybe the image will be different depending on when one is asked about it? When do we have on the rose colored glasses. Say, when we're more likely to be nostalgic for the symbol that the Taj Mahal represents? Love lost?

And yes, this get's to my next point, when can we ever be sure if we "see it" at all? Not in a "nothing is real" sense (my least favorite kind of sense after all...) but as an ernest question.

(And yes, a few clever folks' first impression will be of Taj Mahal the blues singer. He's great, too)

When do we see, this:


  1. Memory is notoriously faulty. That's the case for journaling in the event that you want to write your memoirs when you're old.Trust me you won't remember more than you do remember! And you remember it from the perspective of now and not then.

  2. Wow, great minds... I've been pondering on this sort of thing lots lately myself, but not from the memory avenue. In fact, I just posted a start to a paper about how we know on my blog (the post about evidence). My research paper for the philos class will be called, "How do I know that I'm writing a paper on Epistemology?" (the study of how we know). I'd add another memory phenom. Ever totally forgotten something and then years later someone on facebook shows a picture of you or starts talking about some event in detail and you get TOTAL RECALL to something otherwise that would've been gone with the wind? That's a weird feeling too. Like, MAN what other great memories am I forgetting? Then there's the pictures that people show me, and I swear it must be some kind of trick because I still don't recall anything about it. Memory sure can play tricks, but if it weren't for the tricks we might not know how to trust our memory when it wasn't a trick (most of the time). I mean we know the flawed by the true (not the other way). Too bad we can't get DVR. I sure hope God at least gives us a nice montage of the good bits in the end, but like a Mac iMovie rather than a slide show. hehe. Or perhaps it's a Flash player thing since it ought to "flash before us".