Sunday, November 28, 2004

Learning how I remember

I realized over this past weekend why I love my digital camera so much. The key is that memories for me are often experienced in the form of a visual image that I’m able to recall in my minds eye. Capturing images on my digital camera is a fantastic way to retain these images in an inexpensive and easy to manage format.

The reason all of this surfaced for me over the last couple of days is that I’m spending the weekend in the mountains in British Columbia Canada and it’s the first time I’ve been back to this specific location since I was 6 years old. This experience is unique because I had very specific image memories from my last trip here and I’ve been impressed by how accurate many of those memories are. In a lot of ways it has felt like opening a time capsule that I helped create 24 years ago and then get to enjoy opening and looking through all the images years later.

The most striking part of this experience is that it confirms that my visual memories from all of those years ago are really quite accurate and that there are many additional memories and stories tied to those images that I’m now able to recall. These additiaonl memories have a lot of emotional quality and power to them and it feels like a gift to find them again. It’s a lot of fun and very exciting to have this experience because it allows me to trust many of the image memories that I have from other parts of my life as being true representations of what I experienced all those years ago.

The great thing about the digital camera is that it makes it so easy to capture these images wherever I go. My mind can only remember a few of these images from each experience and it seems to get harder and harder to remember additional images as the years go by. By capturing the digital images it allows me to recall all of those other memories when surfing through the images 1, 5 or 10 years from now. Pretty cool stuff if you ask me.

1 comment:

ericissocool said...

Hi Bart. I've never written to a blog before, so here goes. Here are some totally random, late night thoughts.

After reading "Learning How I Remember" about how visual images help recall memories, I thought about how I discovered that the other senses could be used to recall memories just as well as sight.

For a long time, I used to shave with an electric razor and I almost never used aftershave. Before taking a trip to France, I decided that instead of fucking around with the different electrical standards, I would bring a manual razor blade - the kind they used before Ben Franklin invented the electric razor. These pre-historic razors left my skin dry, so I used aftershave when I was in France. To this day, when I use that aftershave, it reminds me of paris cafes and creme brulee.

So I asked some other world travelers if they have had similar experiences. Apparently, there are some nutcases that actually bring along bottles of certain smells when they travel. They smell their bottle while they are in a particular country. Then years later, they open the bottle and smell and it reminds them of their traveling adventures in that country. Strange.

Have a nice day.