Memories reconstructed

Memory is reconstruction. We capture an image in our mind’s eye and recreate it with the code in our brain when it needs recalling. #gif

Memory is reconstruction. We capture an image in our mind’s eye and recreate it with the code in our brain when it needs recalling.

The problem today is that most of what we see is on screen. Our mind encodes both reality and irreality, often generating exaggerations such as the dream for human wings.

The greatest secret of a powerful memory is to bring information to life with your endless imagination.

Kevin Horsley, Unlimited Memory

The symbiosis between physical and digital bytes fuse a mirage of mind movies. In the search for meaning, we rely on reproducing imaginary blocks in our head.

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Rest and reflect to success

buzzfeed canada animation GIF by Rebecca Hendin

As digital technology colonizes our mind, self-reflection will become ever more important.

But not just any reflection. Reflection in terms of boredom, gratitude, and mental processing.

Blogging = Therapy 👇

Boredom

No one ever died sitting and doing nothing or staring out into space. These are precious moments where the mind has no choice but to wander, to dance with fear, and to play with ephemeral thoughts. You don't need another splash of smartphone dopamine, you need to relax.

Gratitude

Lifehacker Tim Ferriss writes in his gratitude journal every morning. The simple technique may also do wonders for you, a gentle reminder that life depends on others. Remove the ego.

Processing

Reflection also comes in the form of deliberate processing. If you want to remember more, you can try two things. One, you can teach something to yourself as you would a child.

A lot of people tend to use complicated vocabulary and jargon to mask when they don’t understand something. The problem is we only fool ourselves because we don’t know that we don’t understand. In addition, using jargon conceals our misunderstanding from those around us.

The other mental processing hack is reducing interference. Give your brain a 10-15 minute rest by sitting in a quiet room and dimmed lights. No phones, no distractions, only effortless brain rest. Reflection comes in many forms, a habit vital to success in today’s fast-paced, screen-obsessed mobile culture.

Memory is not the enemy of creativity

Great find by Alan Jacobs from the book The Craft of Thought by Mary Carruthers, where it's pointed out that medieval culture emphasized memorization as means of innovation.

The orator’s “art of memory” was not an art of recitation and reiteration but an art of invention, an art that made it possible for a person to act competently within the “arena” of debate (a favorite commonplace), to respond to interruptions and questions, or to dilate upon the ideas that momentarily occurred to him, without becoming hopelessly distracted, or losing his place in the scheme of his basic speech. That was the elementary good of having an “artificial memory.” …

I repeat: the goal of rhetorical mnemotechnical craft was not to give students a prodigious memory for all the information they might be asked to repeat in an examination, but to give an orator the means and wherewithal to invent his material, both beforehand and — crucially — on the spot. Memoria is most usefully thought of as a compositional art. The arts of memory are among the arts of thinking, especially involved with fostering the qualities we now revere as “imagination” and “creativity.”

Perhaps rote memoritization isn't so bad as it seems, assuming its foundation leads on to creative forms of thinking.

The woman who never forgets…anything

Imagine having a “highly superior autobiographical memory” (H.S.A.M).

That's the case for Australian Rebecca Sharrock who remembers everything from the time she was born to what she did on any particular Saturday a decade ago. ALL in clear detail.

[clickToTweet tweet=”‘People can remember what they did last Saturday but I can remember what I did Saturday ten years ago.'” quote=”‘People can remember what they did last Saturday but I can remember what I did Saturday ten years ago.'”]

Only 60 people in the world are known to have the memory condition. And while it comes with benefits — she can even remember every word from the Harry Potter books — there are negative moments in her life that she can't forget. Yet, even when times get tough she can recall the good memories to balance it out.

Amazing.

Tips for boosting your memory and brain power

If you’re looking to boost your memory and brain power, this video contains some excellent tips and reminders.

In summary:

  • Exercise. Physical exercise helps form new brain cells and solidifies existing neurons. It also increases the hippocampus brain area which is responsible for memory and learning
  • Never stop learning. Learning something new builds new brain cells. In fact, parts of your brain shrink when you stop learning. Be a life-long learner!
  • Play music. Learning to play music stimulates your verbal memory. This is because music training improves your left temporal lobe.
  • Use Mnemonics. Associate new information with a shortcut of memorable images, sentences, or simple words. Also, try the Acrostic and Mind Palace techniques. The more you can combine words with images, the stronger your brain power. Keep in mind what Einstein said about creativity.
  • Gain new experiences. Do small things like eating with your weaker hand to stimulate more connections between areas of your brain. Such practice also strengthens nerve cells and ward off the negative impact of aging.
  • Try brain games. You can also work out your brain with puzzles, crosswords or Sudoku. Playing brain games improves cognition and keeps surviving neurons active.
  • Eat omega-rich foods. Your brain needs omega-3 fatty acids to function at its optimal level.
  • Challenge your brain. It’s vital to do small tasks like practicing math skills so you don’t outsource all your thinking to computers.

Above all, stay mentally active by engaging in mental stimulation. That does not mean chasing the nearest dopamine hit. Do any of the above tips on a daily basis instead.

Write a memoir to make sense of your life

via giphy

“Why write? To write. To make something.” – Claude Simon

Most people think of writing as a creative outlet. But it's also an instrument for coping.

According to recent studies, writing your own memoir has various psychological benefits. Whether for private eyes or for public viewing, writing extensively about traumatic events helps you break free from the cage of anxiety.

“Psychologists believe that by converting emotions and images into words, the author starts to organize and structure memories, particularly memories that may be difficult to comprehend and accept.”


Words can save your life

Making sense of the past not only gives you perspective, it also strengthens your personal operating system by refocusing attention on what matters.

Want to better control your inner-narrative? Consider funneling your thoughts from mind to paper by starting your own memoir.

 

Forgetting is just as important as remembering

Can you imagine if you remembered everything?

If you tried to remember everything, your brain would never have enough space to learn new skills and ideas. It would also make you go insane. Even Einstein often forgot people’s names.

Thankfully, the mind works like a dishwasher. It retains information deemed relevant for later use and discards the rest.

Forgetfulness optimizes for better decision-making. Says professor Blake Richards, “It’s important the brain forgets irrelevant details and focuses on what will help make decisions.”

In the era of 24/7 distraction of digital data, a mild memory is more vital than ever. The imagination is more important anyway. World Memory Champion Kevin Horsley put it best in his book Unlimited Memory: “The greatest secret of a powerful memory is to bring information to life with your endless imagination.”


Look, imagine, and remember

via giphy

“In order to think we must speculate with images.” — Aristotle

It’s impossible to remember anything without seeing the image in our head first. With a little effort, we can activate our brains to become conscious recorders.

But the banality of everyday life tends to dull the senses. Blind to routines which automate thinking, we float by the external world without acknowledging its subtleties. Mobile phones further exacerbate attention; some people admit that the addictiveness of the rectangular glow makes walking harder.

We must force ourselves to look for distinctiveness. No one ever forgets a purple cow or rainbow zebra, even if it’s a figment of our imagination.

Celebrating World Photo Day with a cautionary twist

world photo day

We live in an age of constant photography. It is not just that anyone can share a photo, but anyone can also look artistic doing it too, blurring the line between an amateur and professional photographer. Smartphone accessibility and a high-quality lense reduce the barrier to entry.

While we turned the camera inward with the egotistical selfie, technology has also turned photos into new formats like GIFs, Motion Stills, Prisma art pieces, Instagram Boomerangs and Hyperspaces. Movies are collections of photos as well, albeit frames laced together.

“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.” – Ansel Adams 

Photography is just as much about process as is its end-product. Where, when and what camera predetermine the creation process. However, at its essence, photography is the art of noticing.

“The things that deserve our attention are often the things that allude our attention.” – Teju Cole

The challenge today as a photographer is abundance. Since the cloud backs up our photos automatically, we take as many as we want. It is impossible to sort through them let alone remember them. We are so busy capturing, as Om Malik put it, “we confuse photos on our smartphone as memories.” A camera’s memory is infinite; the human brain, distracted and full.

Multiple versions of a photo also make it difficult to select which image is best — companies like EyeM's The Roll and Microsoft Pix use algorithms to help us decide which version is right for Instagram and which is more suitable for Instagram or Snapchat Stories.

Viewing photos on social media comes with the same overwhelming abundance. 400+ Million photos are shared on Snapchat each day, and more than billion if you combine photos uploaded to Instagram and Facebook. It's impossible to sort through them all, so we depend on social networks to work their algorithms to show us what's best.

When we document everything we see, the images lose their meaning. On the other hand, we can look back at photos to see what we missed. Our photos will become the archives for the future to interpret.

The thing about photography is that it always records more than the photographer intends. Photography makes the past present at all times. It changed the world. It gave ordinary people access to their own pasts. – Elizabeth Edwards, In Our Time: The Invention of Photography

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Marketing Memories

Marketing is memory creation. Its sole purpose is to get people to remember, whether that's through a compelling picture/video or a coupon. The more emotional marketing is, the better it sticks.

Social media is powerful form of marketing because customers spread the word for you. It's bottom up instead of top-down. Friends buy products because of other friends.

Marketing starts with a good product though. The iPhone speaks for itself. So does good food. People still go to restaurants even if the service sucks.

But marketing lies too. We've all been duped into buying an inferior or having a shitty experience despite what we were sold.

Marketers are liars. Marketers are storytellers. But sometimes marketers believe in what they say. And that honesty turns customers into tribes.

Good product, good marketing, and a dedicated fan base. Now you just can't mess it up.

The Best Way To Remember Something? Take Notes By Hand

The researchers postulate that the effect might stem from the fact that while typing, it’s easy to write down verbatim what the speaker is saying, without really thinking about it. Taking notes by hand requires listening to the information being said, processing it and then summarizing it in your own words.

Less is more. Writing notes down in your own words helps you recall more information than if you type them out. Note-taking is all about succeeding slowly.

For a Better Memory, Hit ‘Delete’

Even with a second brain, we're overloaded. At the end of the day, creativity > less memory.  

#Newsolutions

The Older Mind May Just Be a Fuller Mind

For the time being, this new digital-era challenge to “cognitive decline” can serve as a ready-made explanation for blank moments, whether senior or otherwise.

It’s not that you’re slow. It’s that you know so much.

You might not be as forgetful as you think, just over-informed. How about another RSS feed?