Scene: Inside your mind. Your memory. The CEO and a lowly worker are communicating.
CEO: Lowly worker, bring me that memory you filed away about ten years ago.
LOWLY WORKER: Right you are, Mr C. It’s up in the stacks, just give me a fraction of a second. (Pause) Here you are, Mr C., good as new.
CEO: Oh yes, I see, this happened, then that happened, then the other. Thank you, Lowly, you can file it away again now.
Well, not quite. Researchers now think the exchange would go more like this:
CEO: Lowly worker, bring me that memory from ten years ago.
LOWLY: Right away, Mr C. (Pause). Here it is. It’s a bit battered, there’s some pages missing and a whole chapter towards the end is gone. Oh, and we’re not sure what happened to some of the words but it’s similar to that other memory so we’ve used that to fill in some of the blanks and had a guess at the rest.
CEO: No problem, I’m sure this is how it happened anyway. Just file it away like this and add these new bits to it.
Sobering, isn’t it. I was reminded of this the other night when Planet of the Apes (the original) was on TV. I haven’t seen that movie in more than ten years so I gave it a watch. What I remembered of it as I sat down was 1. Charlton Heston trying to escape from, 2. a lot of bad apes on horses with, 3. the help of a couple of good apes until,
4. the bad government ape inexplicably lets him go and, 5. he comes across the Statue of Liberty and realises he’s been on Earth all the time.
What my memory didn’t bring back was, 1. the truly awful and distracting music and, 2. the strong ‘religion and science don’t mix’ message. Maybe it’s because the evolution/creation ruckus just didn’t seem to be as heated ten years ago and I’m now seeing the movie through the filter of today’s ‘Dawkins and Myers v the God Squad’ debates. Or maybe my head was just off someplace else.
Whatever, I’m quite happy with the thought that my memory of past events is an old book with some bits falling out, other bits being used to cover a blank page and still other bits being added new whenever I look at it.
It gives a wonderfully fluid feeling to life.