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On memory

Me and my friends—those close to my age anyway—have been continually complaining about our gradual loss of memory for at least a decade now. But today I found an article, An Infinite Loop in the Brain by Samiha Shafy [from Spiegel Online via The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet], that enlightened me a little, convincing me that a good and accurate memory is not always something to be desired:
[Jill] Price can rattle off, without hesitation, what she saw and heard on almost any given date. She remembers many early childhood experiences and most of the days between the ages of 9 and 15. After that, there are virtually no gaps in her memory. "Starting on Feb. 5, 1980, I remember everything. That was a Tuesday...."

People say to me: Oh, how fascinating, it must be a treat to have a perfect memory," she says. Her lips twist into a thin smile. "But it's also agonizing."

In addition to good memories, every angry word, every mistake, every disappointment, every shock and every moment of pain goes unforgotten. Time heals no wounds for Price. "I don't look back at the past with any distance. It's more like experiencing everything over and over again, and those memories trigger exactly the same emotions in me. It's like an endless, chaotic film that can completely overpower me. And there's no stop button."

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