Monday, February 7, 2011

When you forget something

A while back I wrote a blog on "Where do things go on your computer when you delete them.." Somehow that blog resurfaced in my mind a few moments ago. I had not thought about what I said but recalled it just now for some reason unknown to me. That made me think about "When you forget something" which is the title of this blog. I thought that I had better write this blog at this moment before I forget what I am thinking about.

Its not necessary, unless you want to, read the blog on "Where do things go on your computer when you delete them" since I mostly wrote that in jest.

This is a quote from that blog:
"I can see that to delete something is not actually throwing something out of my computer but rearranging it on the hard drive platter so it no longer represents the original data stream. So if I generalize, which is usually not a good idea, maybe I could say that things don't really go anywhere, like physically move, when I delete something from my computer. I might further say that the pattern and sequence of 'bits' & 'bytes' that originally represented a file or program has simply been randomized and the sophisticated pointers in the computer that did tell the computer where to look for a file no longer point to where the 'bits' & 'bytes' were/are located."

For the purpose of this blog, what if I replaced the word 'delete' with 'forget' and the word 'computer' with 'mind'?

Forgetting things has become more frequent with me as I grow older. Most of the time, if not all the time, we don't forget things on purpose (like in forgive and forget) but we do sometimes forget, or at least I do. I have asked myself Why, but have yet to receive an answer.

It is unlikely that we only have so much cranial capacity and experience a memory overload?

Do memory cell (neurons) die after a certain period of time?

If its dying, then what is the dying process, last in die first, first in die last or some other algorithm?

Is it our lack of concentration that we can't recall (forget) certain things?

Is there a loss, reduced or scrambled connection between neurons & nodes within the brain?

Is memory loss permanent, random loss/recall, scrambled? Likely yes to some extent in all?

I am sure that you can think of a number of other possibilities.

I am sorry if you thought this blog was going to provide insight on forgetfulness. It only raises questions to answers that I have forgotten or the neurons & nodes have yet to be connected in my brain to provide answers. Since I am more familiar thinking in the technical realm I can conjure up technical possibilities, but coming up Neurological possibilities isn't me.

In blogs I have discussed different capabilities such as Static Read Only Memory (fused link), Dynamic Random Access Memory and others. These are pretty straightforward and understood by a technical thinking person. In a static RAM the memory states alway exist as initially programmed and fused link Static SRAM's cannot be be changed, just thrown away and a new one burned. With the Dynamic Programmable Random Access Memory (DRAM), as the name implies, has a more brain like memory storage characteristic. One can program the memory, reprogram the memory, and access memory contents in any random order. (lets not get into programming aspects of different DRAMS and learning with the human mind)

An SRAM can withstand just about anything other than physical destruction and the memory contents will remain viable, that is no reprogramming on the fly. I have known people like that.

The DRAM is highly versatile for reprogramming and readout but can have some special characteristics that aren't so good. Some high speed dynamic memories require refreshing the contents on the fly, else they wont retain their memory state. Some folks are like that. Some DRAM's can have their memory contents inadvertently altered. Some can be sensitive to Ultra Violet light, static discharges, Radio Frequency waves, etc.

As I asked in the "Where do things go on your computer when you delete them.." blog, I ask now where do memories go when you can no longer recall them from your brain. Its pretty simple with computers but to me its beyond my comprehension with the human brain.

I was never a smart person but I knew more 'textbook' related things after graduating from college. I may know more 'life' related things now. I use the word 'may' since life related things could be a matter of perspective. Why do I recall vividly some 'life' related things of the distant past but not others? Why do I recall some 'book' related things from college days but many other things have passed?

Why is it that with some persons the mind is the first to fail. With others the heart or other body members fail first or we are consumed with something else. I am pretty sure that we will be pondering these and other questions into the future, if we can remember what questions we were suppose to ponder.

Jim Sohn

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