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Thread: How would your life change if you remembered everything?

  1. #1
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    How would your life change if you remembered everything?

    Was watching a video and was kinda inspired by a question...
    If something was done to you (to your brain) that allowed you to remember *everything* you experienced since you were young, say from the age of a toddler, how would your life change? good or bad

  2. #2
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    Well I have memories that I wish I hand't got but then I have fading memories of things I wish I could remember better. Maybe from an emotional perspective (dependent on your good and bad experiences) I would imagine that remembering everything would be emotional turmoil. Also some of the fond and bad memories I have are much better when the vivid details are not there anymore. From a practical perspective then remembering everything is extremely useful, especially if its in vivid detail.
    Knowledge is power as they say.

  3. #3
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    There are a small number of people who do remember (nearly) everything. I read an article about it some time ago. I think the researchers first became aware of it when a woman came and asked if they could "cure" her of it; so she definitely did not find it pleasant or useful. They then found a few other people, most of whom write liked the ability to relive things.

    Interestingly, when they were searching for people with this sort of memory, they had to eliminate the vast majority of people who thought they could remember everything but actually couldn't. (They did this by asking objectively testable questions, like "what was the weather like on the 4th of April 1972?")

    ETA: More detailed (and almost certainly more accurate) information here: https://cnlm.uci.edu/hsam/
    Last edited by Strange; 2019-Apr-10 at 01:12 PM.

  4. #4
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    As Strange said, there are actually people like that (it is called Hyperthymesia).. Here is a 60 Minutes story about such people (I do remember watching this on TV, and no, I don't have Hyperthymesia).
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  5. #5
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    A few years ago, I read an article in National Geographic about this. There was a woman, possibly one of those referenced in the links others have provided, who remembered pretty much everything - I do remember the article mentioning that she could actually remember what the weather was on any given date.

    The article also talked about a man who had suffered a brain infection, and lost the ability to form new long-term memories - he couldn't remember anything that happened after he suffered the infection (for more than a couple minutes, anyway). What was really interesting was that there was still some form of memory going on. People whom he had spent a lot of time with did not "feel" like strangers to him, even though he didn't remember ever actually meeting them before. They taught him a song on the piano - he could play it from memory, but didn't remember learning it.

    To tie it in to the original post, the article noted that the man was, generally speaking, much "happier" than the woman. She was somewhat burdened by all her memories; he wasn't even really aware that he had a problem.
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  6. #6
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    Here is Radiolab story about a guy with very good memory: https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/91...ts-of-the-mind

    One downside is that you remember not only the important things but also the unimportant.

    Fred
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  7. #7
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    I saw that 60 Minutes episode too.

    My instinctive, superficial sense is that I'd embrace hyperthymesia. But the fear I have of it is not being able to repress unwelcome, or unhelpful memories, that is, having my head filled with thoughts about the past that are not helpful to the situation I'm presently experiencing.

    Like a few other members of this forum, I have spatial sequence synesthesia, and it's really helpful in remembering when some things happened. But I wish I could accurately remember more!

    I've read that memories can be "manufactured", or details added that weren't there in the original experience, or that something that didn't actually happen is experienced as a memory. My memory of an event is often different from that of other people who experienced the same event. Therefore, I've become suspicious of some of my memories. I wish it weren't so.

  8. #8
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    Some things deserve to be forgotten.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  9. #9
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    I vaguely remember (yes...) seeing a documentary about people who couldn't forget, and one of them found a trick to forget things: write the memory on a blackboard and erase it. That does seem very "Discovery Channel" to me though, as for me explicitly writing something down would actually help me remembering it...

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    When I used to have nightmares, the most effective way of destroying them was to write them down when I woke up. That not only greatly reduced the chance of the nightmare returning, it also, somehow, allowed me to forget about the nightmare completely.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
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  11. #11
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    I have a very visual memory, so writing it down on a blackboard would give me a visualisation of the memory. A mainly visual memory is not always a blessing though; while studiying, I could often remember that a certain paragraph was on the lower left of a page, however I could not remember the contents...

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