Thursday, March 20, 2008

Memories of the brain.

Why are we able to remember things from childhood, but we can't remember the things we just did/ talked yesterday?

Why can't we remember the things we want to remember, but we could remember the insignificant things in life?

In highschool, a motivator (and I hate motivator, FYI, I don't think they serve any purpose to me) gave a talk on 'How to remember things'. He said, to remember, we have to make it important. One example he gave was, "Kalau sembahyang itu penting bagi kita, kita takkan lupa untuk bersembahyang".

My opinion is 50-50 on this. I partly agree because, how else could I remember this quote if I hadn't thought religion is important to me? It hit me hard because he talked about God and the pillar of Islam.

I disagree because there are a few times, although not many, I did genuinely forgot to pray. Does that make me someone who takes solat lightly? Although, I do admit, most of the time I didn't pray, was not because I forgot, either I felt lazy or simply because I couldn't (ie: forgot to bring telekung, pakai baju bernajis etc, and don't get me wrong, I didn't purposely wear dirty clothes, work makes me dirty!)

Besides, there are other unimportant things that embed my mind, such as, song lyrics! They are not particularly important to me, but how come I could remember them without much efforts? Sometimes, I don't even know the meaning of the songs, until I actually sit down and listen to what I'm singing. How could my mind mumble words I don't understand?

The mystery of the mind...Maybe I should read "This Is Your Brain On Music" by Daniel J. Levitin. Hmm...I wish I had the time!

As I grew up, I always tried keep my mind clean, no pollution what-so-ever allowed, so to keep my mind sharp. This include: jangan makan organ macam hati dan perut, jangan makan telur ikan, jangan makan otak ikan, jangan minum air yang ada semut, jangan tengok salib, jangan tengok pornography, jangan panggil orang bodoh, nanti diri sendiri yang bodoh. Religious people said, "Nanti ilmu susah nak masuk". Did it work? Is it true? I don't know, I no longer care (but I do still feel guilty and dumb everytime I break the above rules).

My theory is, I remember better when I was smaller because I used to be a white canvas. The purity, the eagerness to learn and to face life, the fantasy to be the smartest person in the whole wide world, the protection from the cruel reality and the mean, bad world made my mind accepted things easily.

At a very tender age, your brain absorbs like a sponge. Why not utilise the opportunity? I think, that's why it is very important to instill the most basic and important values while the kid is still young and empty. You fill him up with good values. This is because the things he learn when he is small are the things he will hold onto when he grows up.

What's basic? ABC, 123, alif ba ta, respect, solat, always put the toilet seat up when peeing, etc.
Why basic? Because without these fundamentals, a child won't understand the teachings he is going to get later in his life. 'Easy' makes a habit.

What's important? ABC, 123, alif ba ta, respect, solat, always put the toilet seat up when peeing, etc.
Why important? Because without these values, a child wouldn't grow up into a fine gentleman.

I have a friend whose sister learn how to speak Cantonese by watching the TV. I think, I too could learn the Cantonese language if I watched the TV series since young. I assume her sister is gifted with a high IQ (because my friend herself studies Law in Oxford University, good genes run in the family), but I am sure I could do wonders too if I watched the TV series everyday.

Another friend of mine was strictly trained by her mother to eat the healthiest food. I never seen her drinking any carbonated drinks or eat junk food or asam, and indeed, she excels in her studies. I think that's a bit too much, no? What's life without good food? She is free to eat whatever she wants now but she still chooses the healthy option. It has became a habit to her.

During childhood, I thought I could memorize everything. Of course I could, I only lived for 10 years! I still remember where my classes were and the names of my class teachers. As we grow up, we learn how to select things to remember and how to block certain insignificant things. Sometimes, we get confuse on which to select due to so many things going on in our minds and instead of remembering the things we want to remember, we end up doing the opposite.

That's why some of us have repressed memories as well.

Eureka, I've found the answers!

I specifically remember the time when I was seven, sitting outside with my family. I heard my parents talking, Mother said to Father, "Esok". Then, I remember asking Mother, "Esok tu apa?" I thought, does esok and besok carry the same meaning? Yes, they do. I don't know why I remember that moment very clearly.

One person, I don't remember who, asked me this, "Do you memorize Al-Fatihah?" I thought, yes, I do. He said, "No, you don't memorize the surah, you know Al-Fatihah. Do you have to think before reciting Al-Fatihah in your prayers? No, you recite it naturally."

Memorizing and knowing are two different things.

I used to envy those people blessed with photographic memory. I never met any, though. Guess I am jealous with people I don't even know, eh? Anyway, I watched a documentary about photographic memory. A person with the so-called photograhic memory is actually over-rated. They only have photographic memories in the fields they specialized in. For example, the chess player only has photographic memory on the chess boards and the arrangement of the chess pieces and the coloured cube player only has photographic memory on the cubes and the colours.
So, it is actually acquired after many trainings, even you can do it too. It is all only the manipulation of the mind. There is really, no person in this world with genuine photographic memory. At least, not yet, anyway.

Excuse me but this is going to be off the topic, the same motivator I mentioned above believes in order to remember things, we should learn how to focus. Did you know what did he do next? He cramped us all in the school hall, closing all the doors to block our views from looking at unncessary things that could potentially took our attention away. He forced us to look and listen only to him, how cruel is that! His alibi was, "You would remember what I said this way". Hell yeah, I remember all the misery he gave me in that two days because I was traumatised! He said, we shouldn't sleep too much because, "Nabi tidur beberapa jam saja. Saya dulu masa belajar PhD pun tidur 3 jam saja sehari!" 'Jadilah seperti saya yang tak tidur untuk berjaya macam saya yang sebenarnya tak berapa berjaya pun', I wanted to add to his stupid speech.

I think, next I will try to analyse on why during childhood, I could see so many things in the sky, but now, all I could see are just clouds. There are just clouds. I want to see burgers, flowers, cats and dogs like I used to when I was little. Where has my imagination gone too?

1 comment:

t-Ya said...

i dedicate Evanescence's Song : Field of Innocence to you. ;p