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Sunday, December 02, 2007


Steven Petrick Posting.

Memory is an important part of our lives. We spend all of our days filling up our brain with them. They go from the mundane things, like how to take proper care of our own teeth on a day to day basis, to how to drive a car. They are also filled with experiences so that we can avoid things, like touching an electric plug will give you an unpleasant spasm in your appendage that can run up your arm real quick, so best not to touch those funny holes in the wall. Some memories get built into reflexes so that we do them without really consciously thinking about them. If you fall, you stick your arms out to try to catch yourself before the conscious realization that you are taking that self-preservative action registers.

But memory is also a reservoir of other experiences. You remember the embarrassment of that first encounter with someone you found attractive, the clumsy steps that led to your later confident approach to others. You remember finding out that while some foods had unpleasant orders, or were unappealing to your eyes at first glance, your taste buds found Nirvana.

A lifetime's memories are filled with learning new things (whether it is math, how to read, or that first time you beat the old man in a game of chess), and the joys and sorrows of life in general.

Our memories are largely what we are. They define how we will deal with new experiences, and they do so through the learned prism of the cultures in which we grow up. They define the level of trust we will have in meeting someone new. They allow us to apply the past to current problems.

So live your life and build memories, and do not forget to hand the lessons of your memories down to the next generation. That first ancestor who figured out how to make a stone axe is not remembered by name, but in learning how to do that, and passing that memory on to others who remembered, is how we got where we are today.