Monday, April 28, 2008

Psycho (analysis)

Bare with me here.

One particular night during sleep, I, at some point, went into a coughing fit and then resumed sleeping. Or at least I think I did.

During the cough, I thought it might've been the first of many symptoms of a brand-new cold (I had that substance in my throat that I couldn't get rid of, no matter how much I coughed). But when I woke up next morning, there no was evidence of sickness. I then figured I just swallowed saliva the wrong way. I also remembered sounds, like my mother calling me, but failed to remember waking up at any point at all. So...what happened?

I read an article in some nature/science magazine that started with the question "Have you ever with certainty remembered something that never happened?" I immediately thought of "The Matrix".

Anyway, the article talked about some neuroscientists who were conducting tests to thicken the line between real recollections and made up ones.

They tested two cranial lobes: the medial-temporal, which takes in details, and the fronto-parietal, which gathers the gist of things.

They gave two test subjects one sheet of paper with a list of words they were obligated to remember. They then took that away and gave them a second sheet with a slightly altered list (some words were replaced). They were to point out the words they remembered seeing from the first list.

When trying to recall words they did not see to begin with (and affirming that they remember them), the frontal-parietal lobe registered the most seismic activity.

My hypothesis would be that the brain, when trying to recall a perception, mostly looks for the things that fit in with the general picture of it, and will settle for those things even when they're incorrect. Memories are questionable, even when they're expressed by a person who first starts with "I remember like it was yesterday....."

The human brain: the first and last frontiers in historical truth-altering process.

Did my brain generally recall the sleep and randomly put in the vision of myself coughing and my mother calling? If so, then we are entering Carl Jung's territory, and can only come to an answer by knowing the unique language of the sub-conscious.

Perhaps a great memory has the frontal part sharpened a little and the medial part dulled a little, to perceive things optimally. But however fine tuned the mind is, it is still finite, and the objective truth, thus, is still lost.


  1. Don't Feed The PixiesApril 29, 2008 at 8:02 AM

    You're getting into Jean Paul Satre territory here - what is the nature of reality? Is anything real?

    Scientists have discovered a period of sleep which can bring hallucinations, distorted sounds and a feeling of being unable to move - some think this is behind the alien abduction myths

    Memory is a fragile thing at best

  2. The Clandestine SamuraiApril 30, 2008 at 8:35 AM

    Alien abduction myths? I remember being in that state before, but what do they think is happening?

  3. hmmmm.... I'm not sure I believe in objective truth at all. For reasons like you describe. And other reasons too ... because being human - we see things from our own perspective. And what we see is OUR truth, but is there such a thing as an objective truth? Not sure. This from the girl who has a science degree.

    p.s. I also heard the alien abduction myth theory -- which in the old days were the reasons people thought they were abducted by evil spirits and bogey man.

    We just pick a different form of hallucination that fits with modern society.

  4. Don't Feed The PixiesMay 1, 2008 at 9:23 AM

    Some people experience the feeling of being stretched, restrained or that someone is in the room - just the mind playing tricks, but i saw a programme once where they re-created that period of sleep as a possible explanation for the belief in abduction and the woman involved freaked out - believing there really had been strange creatures present

  5. I read something about it manifesting itself like something sitting on your chest -- like a creature -- which people linked to bewitching and being cursed. And then, modern day -- changed to - as DFTP said -- being restrained.

    I used the whole concept in a book I'm working on and called it - ta da! - what else? Magic.


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