Quarrels with a Missing Memory
The more you look, the more you’re likely to find. Although, it’s not always what you sought.
Rummaging through factorials of times past, reaching for a piece that you have only a non-native, murky commentary of feels much like being all of four again, trying to catch water in fistfuls only to an expected surprise of pruning palms. It’s testing — how can something that you know is there, not be there?
In many conversations, we are unable to place a recollection of incidents. It’s not so much a bother, just a hiccup that’s easy to swallow. If you have one to talk to — you have one to argue with, it’s a corollary. The reasonings, citations and evidences fly and hop swiftly like sparrows skipping branches until the other party unpacks a prior occurrence, claiming your particular role as now an offence to you. Your jaw drops to form some word of retaliation — and then stays that way since you can’t retrieve what you’ve just heard, that which you appear to have played more than a supporting role in or if so, at least would have received an accolade for.
I’ve often responded with a reluctant concession on the premise that it sounds like something I would have said or done, something I could find a way to relate to an estimation of my character. Just as often, I don’t actually remember the episode. Why am I obligated to give in because I didn’t register the event with the same importance or some part of me didn’t qualify it occupancy in a more accessible crevice of my brain?
“…evoked recollection is not the exact photographic or phonographic reproduction of past scenes or events. It is a reproduction of what the patient saw and heard and felt and understood.”
— W. Penfield, ‘Memory Mechanisms’, A.M.A Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry
How truly reliable is a person’s memory? It is a fact that an incident is recorded in our brain entwined with our feelings or emotions. When I recall the last vacation I was on, I remember hiking, pausing to take in the scenery in adjunction with the anxiety and mild fear of a possible encounter with wild elephants. I know this to be reality of that time, though it is a synopsis. I can’t recall the things I said to my companions though I imagine I could have complained about the hike being longer than I’d have liked — which brings me back to my qualm.
We cannot maintain objectivity in the citation of memories — it can always be contested.
Much like how theoretically some things are possible but in application, they don’t peak quite the same way. This should provide room to continue the argument on the basis of each person’s own account. Now, if there is just one account to go by — would it be more just to have it excluded from admittance?
I had myself believing that I was in possession of a very spry imagination. When recalling an outfit I’d worn three days prior, I could picture myself going about my activities in multiple options — a striking parallel to how I would visualize in planning for the future. The brain fabricating memories is a common occurrence. Provide a blueprint and the brain constructs. This only furthers my inquiry of how much gravitas a memory holds in the space of a quarrel.
Humans are irrational in nature. That isn’t to contest intelligence, we as a race have put a man on the moon. To expect anyone, including oneself, to not bring up the past is unrealistic no matter the premise I’ve attempted to build here. We recognize patterns and predict possibilities going off them. Memories form the entire body of the data set that we decipher these patterns from. While most recordings of our past are essentially unequivocal to us, it is the pieces with the jagged ends that err on being sanded down to fit. It is but normal to have aberrations.
Albeit the pendulum oscillates both ways — sometimes you’re being hunted and sometimes you’re the one who remembers. It isn’t always reasonable to examine prior events, not in the discipline of who did what but instead that which speaks to an archetype of a person. It doesn’t resolve the frustration of fists that are void of water yet, but it does help you see where it slips finding its escape.