On Memory 2

This is another story about memory.

One thing Werther Armand believes to be very curious in his hometown is that many day care centers for the elderly are situated next to kindergartens or child care centers. The one in which Werther Armand spent three good years pissing his pants and crying for his mother was no exception. The day care center opposite to his kindergarten lived an old hunchback woman. Every day she went to the kindergarten to tell stories of her life to the kids. Little Werther Armand was always one of the audience (because of the Haribo packet in her hands). She always began her stories by saying, “hey, lovely boy/girl, you remind me of…” Werther Armand does not remember much about these stories today. Had she not had candies with her, he would not even have remembered this old lady. Little Werther Armand used to ask himself why this old woman needed them so much to recall a little piece of memory. Today, as a handsome young man in his mid-twenties, he begins to understand that people do have their limits, especially when we age. He just cannot recall the names of the girls he encountered in one night without referring to the color of their miniskirts.

Do we just ‘forget’ some image or word and it just disappears in the complexity of human mind? Almost a year ago, I had this class about information security. The lecturer spoke of the functionality of a computer hard-disk.  He said that it was almost impossible to destroy some information on a hard-disk unless we burnt it at 1000°C for some time. He also told us that, same for us, our memory would live with us for the entire life. I was not in accordance with this argument and so I raised my hand to challenge his example:

“I am sorry, sir, but I find it ridiculous to relate the human mind to a piece of metal junk. I don’t have a Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X to search a lost scenery stored in my mind. Nor can I erase something as simple as clicking the delete button icon. According to your assumption, except burning my brain at 1000°C, I have no idea how to destroy something undesirable. Well, even desirable but I want it to stay away from my mind.”

Prof. Information Security answered me with a smile like a mother comforting her son, “Brilliant young man, you should understand that our operation system can be any reminder from a piece of Lush handmade soap to the whole Monmartre district in Paris. Notice that we are human and we are much more complicated than a machine. So, technically speaking, ‘delete with a click’ is too inhumane. That’s why we use the expression ‘forget’ to describe the act of deleting something in the mind. To forget is a process. If you are aware of avoiding those reminders, you will eventually be able to ignore what you want to forget and achieve the effect of deletion. Same as picking up again what you ‘deleted’, it is also a process because you will have to undo a lot of purposed negligence and re-establish the reminders with your ignored memories. That’s what makes people inconsistent, emotional, romantic and somehow unreliable in revealing a piece of information. Young man, if you wish to know more the expertise of forgetting, I think you are in the wrong class. This class is about business. You should attend Prof. Romantic Literature’s class.”

Professor Information Security’s answer was a bit ironic to me, but he unlocked my puzzle. We just forget but nothing disappears. We just need something or someone to remind us of something or someone. That was why that old woman needed us so much to recall her life and she comes to my mind every time when I see Haribo.

I have been aware of my not updating this blog for some time. As I said in On Diary previously, life only gets busier as we grow up. Troubles haunt and follow me; happiness drugs and enchants me. The frequency of entry diminishes though fortunately the diary goes on. For these few months, my persistence to continue this Chinese man’s virtual adventure has been weakened. I have been avoiding remembering Romance of the Chinese man on purpose so as to achieve the effect of deletion. Oh, wait! Something is wrong! Why do I start something just to forget it later? I don’t know… This is a paradox. Professor Information Security was right. We are too unstable. We should all thank Bill Gates and Steve Jobs for the personal computer revolution. It does help fix our randomness and put us back to work!

I wish this entry would help rebuild my contact with my own romance. If any blogger drops by and it happens that you have not updated your blog for a while, I will be delighted to know that this entry might serve as your reminder.

Bye for now, see you next blog!


3 thoughts on “On Memory 2

  1. Pingback: On Memory 3 | Romance of the Chinese man

  2. Pingback: On Paris 2 | Romance of the Chinese man

  3. Pingback: On Love 2 | Romance of the Chinese man

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