To see a full-size view of the images posted, just click on them.

RULES FOR POSTING COMMENTS: This blog is meant to be interactive. Please utilize the comment feature to respond to posts that prompt a reaction. You do not have to agree with me to post, but I do ask that your comment pertain to the post itself. I also ask that "anonymous" guests attach some sort of name to their comments so readers can tell everyone apart. (If you cannot follow these simple rules, your post may be DELETED or at the very least mocked for the entertainment of those who can respect my guidelines.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Memories

I saw a show on the human brain and memory and I was surprised to learn the degree to which our memories of the past are faulty despite our belief in their accuracy. (While I pride myself on my memory, I have had a few instances where I had totally botched a recollection I would have bet money was real. There is a long-running joke among my kids about a scene I described from the movie "A River Runs Through It" that I considered a masterpiece of cinematic poignancy....only to watch the film with them and discover the scene I loved so much......never happened.) 

I had also read that recovered memories are also prone to inaccuracy and are even potentially false in their entirety. It has made the introduction of memories of this type as evidence in court cases suspect. 

When it comes to spanking memories, I have struggled with one in particular that I seem to believe was real involving my Aunt and two cousins. And as out there as I may seem, I am too embarrassed to ask any of them if the memory is real. 

But I also wonder if it makes a difference? If we are products of our own minds, does it matter whether what affects us is real or imagined? I have had dreams that I know are not based in reality and yet I feel those dreams have become part of who I AM in reality. If I was to discover that the memory was false, would it change anything?

It was in pondering all of this that I had the idea for the following cartoon:











23 comments:

  1. Great comic KD....I was not expecting that one.
    So glad you are back in the groove with your wonderful artwork!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Glen! I have one more that I'm fine-tuning in my head before I draw it up. But then? I'll just have to wait for more inspiration.

      Delete
  2. Hilarious cartoon!

    On the larger point, memory is indeed tricky. I have a very clear recollection of something that happened when I was a child on day that was a traumatic turning point in my life, but people who were there tell me that it not only didn't happen the way I remember it but actually happened the *opposite* of how I remember it. Though, as I get older the real problem becomes *lack* of memories about key events, not factually *wrong* memories. So, I would probably take your inaccurate memories over my dark holes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, btw, regarding spanking memories, I do suspect that is an area where my memory gaps are not consistent with reality. I have very, very few memories of being spanked, particularly by mom. But, given where I grew up, it is just extremely unlikely that I didn't get many more than I remember.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Dan. I had worried that the gag might be too simplistic or obvious, but so far, you and Glen have both seemed to like it.

      According to the show I saw (A multi-part documentary narrated by Emma Stone and currently on Netflix) there are ....as always....purely biological reasons why our brains do the damned things they do. So, it doesn't pay to agonize too much. We're just victims of our own physiology.

      Delete
    3. Well, other than that pesky issue of how consciousness and memories arise at all out of a bunch of organic tissue and chemical reactions. But, other than that, the biologists have it all solved. ;-)

      Delete
    4. >>>>memories arise at all out of a bunch of organic tissue and chemical reactions.<<<<<<

      Ah, so when you have some wire, silicon chips, and a current store massive amounts of "memory" or solve problems, it's less mysterious than when some cells that have evolved over millenia do it? ;-) It's OK. If it seems too miraculous to believe it's probably because an all-powerful god did it......and they can do ANYTHING! ;-) (They're particular talented at filling in 'gaps' in understanding.)

      [ LOL....hey, you set yourself up for that one! ;-) ]

      Delete
    5. Actually, yeah, if a computer ever achieves actual awareness and sentience, that will be as miraculous as if a tree or a rock suddenly got those same qualities. At the end of the day, it's just cells and electrical impulses. No matter how many times you flick on the light switch at home or how many light switches you string together or how many of those get aggregated into an electrical grid, they don't develop awareness that they themselves exist. I think anyone who stops and thinks for just a bit about how odd it actually is that a bunch of meat that I can buy at the grocery store and turn into a stew can generate awareness and consciousness, perceive things and think abstract thoughts about those perceptions, will be struck by how profoundly weird and inexplicable it really is. People aren't struck by the weirdness because they don't take the time to actually think about it. And for those who do, some of the smartest people on the planet now and in past centuries, have stumbled when contemplating that, and a whole bunch of other very smart people whose professional lives are dedicated to thinking about it have no real explanation for it.

      Back in the days when all we had was Newtonian physics, you had a pretty good argument that attributing action to something non-material was at best superfluous and at worst just plain superstitious. But, that kind of falls apart in a world in which we know that a human mind observing a particle going through one of two slits "determines" which slit that particle goes through just by observing it. Phenomenon like that, among lots of other quantum physics discoveries make something like a collective consciousness seem not all that weird by comparison or by extension. At this point, you materialists are living in denial about as much as the flat earthers.

      Delete
    6. OK, a lot to say on this. Let me start by 'observing' that your initial comment had a winking emoji signifying a lighthearted jab. My reply had 3 ....PLUS an 'LOL' clearly conveying another joke to counter yours. In other words....."I thought we were just having some fun ribbing each other over a topic we've thrashed to lifelessness many times before."

      But, I'm OK with some serious debate on this.....yet again, so:
      1: It is quite true that mechanized intelligence is nowhere close to organic intelligence.....yet. My point was that organic mechanisms have been developing under the constant pressures of evolution for B-illenia. (About 3 and half billion years). This means untold models that either succeeded or failed being 'developed' (albeit naturally) over a really long time. Computer intelligence is pretty young in comparison. But considering what the can already do and what is being worked on , I am pretty confident that barring our extinction, true AI will not merely be the stuff of science fiction.

      2: True.....it's mysterious. But lots of things were once mysterious that are no longer so inexplicable. And while I won't channel 'flat-earther' denial, I will retain my objective skepticism over assuming metaphysical involvement until such time as that involvement is proven.

      3: Your quantum example is confusing to me. You have brought it up before, but I'm not sure what you think the experiment signifies? It is my understanding that electrons can behave either as particles or waves, and when 'observed' they tend to act as particles rather than waves. But even though the reason is not understood, I don't see where the metaphysical champions see this as evidence. The "observer" is a mechanical device, so it's not like there's some eerie Jedi Mind stuff going on between the electrons and some scientist's brain. The influence of being 'observed' is more likely some hitherto unknown effect of the introduction of the devices needed to enact the experiment, much like the presence of a camera in the wilderness can sometimes alter the behavior of the animals being filmed.

      4: In researching more and more on this, I also have to say that when I read things from more purely scientific sources, I found no scientific postulation that the wave/particle experiment was somehow proof of the metaphysical at work. It was only in the sources from more philosophical sources that seemed to go down that road. When the quantum scientists start talking metaphysics as the answer, I'll be more than happy to come on board.

      5: My personal issue with religious, supernatural, and metaphysical stuff is not stubborn. I would very much like for it all to be true! I would love to know that I won't 'end' when I die. That this life has meaning outside of the arbitrary ones we give it. That there is a benevolent deity looking out for me. Who wouldn't? But I have been fooled in the past. And I felt like a sucker when I finally realized it. So now? OK I'll listen. I'll be open....but judiciously and skeptically. If after that something makes sense.....I'll adopt it myself....even while still thinking I could be being fooled once again due to my own wishful thinking.

      Lastly, I love a good discussion. And I love some good-natured ribbing. And I really love a combination of both at the same time.....but I really don't want to do this if it gets ugly.

      Delete
    7. I'm not sure what you are seeing as "ugly" other than the dearth of emojis. You use some pretty caustic and aggressive language whenever addressing people with religious beliefs, so I'm struggling to see how my comments are aggressive by comparison. But, tone is obviously hard to convey in emails, blogs, etc., so I will just say that nothing in my comment was meant to be ugly.

      I think quantum physicists do end up talking metaphysically, but in a way that's very similar to the way some atheists are very religious in their dedication to atheism. Look at the theories about multiverses. Some very prominent physicists have posited that every action we take, and potentially every thought we have, spins out a separate universe, and that there are literally infinite universes out there. Now, what was the impetus for these theories? Well, they couldn't explain a lot of what they now know about just how precisely our own universe is tuned to support life, and that if you changed conditions at the big bang by the tiniest of margins, life could not exist. The theists point to those conditions as evidence of some kind of design or plan. Rejecting that out of hand, some came up with this idea that our universe exists because it is one of an infinity of universes, and that if you have an infinity of universes odds are at least one of them would support life. It's the astrophysics version of the "infinite monkey theorem," in which a monkey banging away randomly on a typewriter for an infinity of time would almost certainly happen at some point to type out the complete works of William Shakespeare. Now, think for a minute about how profoundly weird that multiverse theory really is, and it is posited purely to get around what these theorists see as the profoundly weird evidence that our current universe seems peculiarly designed to support life. In an effort to stamp out one theory they find implausible, they come up with one that is even more fantastic, more wholly at odds with anything "provable," and every bit as fantastic and, in some ways, metaphysical as the theory it is designed to refute. Once again, religious adherence to atheism to the point of religiosity.

      Also, btw, I don't know why you think that a rejection of materialism necessarily involves Christian notions of life after death, a benevolent deity, etc. Why says any supra-human consciousness or power would have to be benevolent? Nietzsche called that notion--that a god must be good--as an "unnatural castration" of the idea of a god. Also, and this truly is not meant to be "ugly" or mean-spirited, but it really is interesting to me that among all the people I engage with around DD issues, you seem the most insistent that on something akin to objective meaning, literal truth, objective "justice," yet when objecting to "metaphysical" beliefs, you suggest people are silly to think that anything has any objective "meaning" other than our arbitrary feelings and wishes. I actually am pretty close to that line of thinking, that it IS all arbitrary, but I also take the good with the bad when applying that as a possible belief system.

      Delete
    8. Well, I am glad that I was just 'seeing a tone' that wasn't intended. I certainly don't want to have my attempt to keep an exchange from getting 'ugly' be the cause FOR things to get heated. ;-) It probably was the lack of playful emojis that had me thinking your last comment was .....let's just say...'heading in a direction I'd rather avoid.' (You know how parents tell toddlers, "use your words"? Perhaps my spin on that would be "use your emojis." LOL)

      As for the points you make.....rather than quibble over stuff no one has a real solid clue on, let me just say that once the "metaphysical" is explained.....it will just become the "physical". Just like once something paranormal is explained....it'll just be "normal" from that point on.

      Multiverse theory is fun stuff.....but as far as I am concerned, it works better in comic books. We are just starting to understand aspects of our immense universe....with a long way to go. Postulating these other theories is nice. It'll make for a great book, and stimulate some discussion, but until there is proof of it, I'll stick with (the little) we know.

      And the existence of life is not proof of anything. It just is. If things were different there might not be life, or it might be different than what we define it as now. The universe is not especially designed FOR life. In fact, it takes a lot of chance events to have it happen the way it does here. Any number of changes would make the earth lifeless. We just think about life because we happen to be the lucky dice roll that ended up alive and thinking. I doubt the moon or Venus is spinning around thinking "gee, I wish there was life here".....and there are more places in the universe where there doesn't seem to be life than places that seem inhabitable even to just microbes. So it's hardly the Federation of Planets or the Galactic Empire out there.....so far.

      As for atheism? It's like anything else. You have all kinds of atheists. Right now I'm not seeing much to convince me of a god....if that changes, I'm pretty sure my view will change as well. After all, I used to be a theist and changed from that position. I see no problem in changing back.....with the right evidence to convince me to do so.

      And, my sentence lumping all of the "things otherworldly" into one group did not mean they are dependent on each other....just that they are all as yet unproven. So I don't think Christianity is a caveat for the metaphysical. However, if the metaphysical is real.....then there is either something behind it, or it isn't metaphysical at all....just the 'physical' as yet unexplained.

      Lastly, I think my personal leanings towards objective truths in some things and not others are just that.....more of a personal sense of honor of what (I think) should be. Objectively speaking....there is no objective truth like you said......but we can't get anywhere practically if we base our civility and social interaction on chaos....even if chaos is the modus operandi of the universe.

      But in conclusion, I am only responding to respond. Given the mood I'm in, I'd prefer to just keep things light. Maybe bitch about Trump? But I would rather commiserate, than argue with the few people I actually get along with to begin with. It just seems counterproductive in a world where there are so few people to 'mostly' agree with to dwell on the differences rather than the shared. Maybe it's just the mood I'm in?

      Delete
    9. Coincidentally, just saw this article that sums up some of the above: https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/weirdest-idea-quantum-physics-catching-there-may-be-endless-worlds-ncna1068706

      Delete
    10. Thanks for the link. I read it. I'm with Penrose & Fuchs. (But I'm sure you probably guessed that.) ;-)

      Delete
  3. A good example that has nothing to do with spanking unfortunately. I grew up in Ireland and visited Dublin a few times as a child. I remember going to the General Post Office in O'Connell Street one time and walking up the steps, from which Padraig Pearse read the proclamation of the Irish Republic during the Easter Rising in 1916.
    Then a few years ago I read an article in the online edition of an Irish newspaper. (https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/on-the-steps-of-the-gpo-and-other-myths-an-irishman-s-diary-about-psychic-geography-1.2586054) The author said that numerous history books describe how Pearse proclaimed the Republic from the steps of the GPO. There is just one slight problem: the GPO does not have any steps. I guess I must have read about the steps in a history book myself and then inserted them into my memory of the place.
    richard

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good example. In the show I recommended the episode started with a person's specific recollection of 9/11 and her subsequent discovery that very little of it was accurate. It seems to perfectly resemble your situation with the steps.

      Delete
  4. Our minds play tricks on us and maybe some times things we think happened is really something we want to happen.
    archedone

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is also true. So much of what we experience is rooted in adaptations that developed when the daily life of an early human was quite different than what it is today.

      Delete
  5. Haha funny and sexy! If it turned out I had a repressed memory like that then it would explain a lot...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Interesting topic. It brings to mind the possibility of our whole life being a sim, or a dream-- and the bigger picture of how objective our "universal truths" are.

    I remember, growing up in a very religious environment, being taught Al-Ghazali's argument against the human mind's ability to obtain an absolute truth (in order for him to limit the path to said truth to revelation, and meditation-- the core belief of his Sufism philosophy). So, even for a medieval theologian, the observing power and thinking faculty of our brains were questionable!

    A fun thing though, (to end on a light note), would be to try to actively generate a selected false memory-- If the present moment is always too fast to savour an experience, then surely a lot of the experience's value is in MEMORIZING it. And if that memorizing can be obtained without the experience actually needing to happen, then we can, literally, have fun out of nothing at all!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome, faryak. Jump right on in! I personally found the 'sim/dream' notion to make for barely-tolerable science fiction. I seems like a lot of work in a pretty large, uncaring universe to have such a situation underlying it all. I mean...'to what end'? Why do it?

      I am not sure the mind is limited in attaining an absolute truth as much as the goal itself is flawed. What thing in and of itself is only one way? And even if it is, who decides it?

      I have actually dabbled in doing precisely what you suggested in your final paragraph, but abandoned it when I worried that if I generate the false memory, it could affect an actual one. Granted this might be an unreasonable concern, but it is something that gave me pause.

      Delete
  7. This is quite the amusing (and relevant) cartoon, LOL!

    At my "advanced age" (60s), I'll occasionally remember isolated items that may have been somewhat repressed or simply forgotten, I don't see a therapist but sometimes I'll simply see or hear something that triggers those memories.

    Most of them are unimportant, although a few years ago a repressed memory emerged that did (and even now does occasionally) bother me, about a botched potential romantic relationship I might've had in college, almost a half-century ago. (I even wrote a story based on it, although I gave it a happy ending, almost as a type of therapy.)

    What almost certainly 'triggered' my spankophile tendencies, that I've always remembered though... --C.K.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, CK, memory is a fuzzy wicket. It's interesting to see how we morph things into our own reality.

      And thanks for the compliment on the cartoon.

      Delete