1.29.2005

Three More Things

1. I cut my right thumbpad while opening the cannelini beans. I was raised to "be careful" about sharp can-openered edges, and had always heeded that warning: until tonight. Listen to your parents, kids, those suckers are sharp. (I'm fine, really. No tetanus yet.)

2. Am experiencing significant ongoing problems with knowing where I am when I wake up. True, as Malka patiently pointed out, I haven't been in the same place for more than four nights for several weeks. Pretty strange though: I've quite seriously taken time to think where in the whole world I am. And who.

3. I am developing a theory about the mental links between planning and memories. I think that when I mentally plan a schedule, it's like a kind of architecture: empty rooms, spaces, expectations of where I'll be and who with and what doing. I pre-vision myself carrying out the plans and sort of troubleshoot ahead of time. I do this without thinking consciously of it (usually) and when I fail to 'build' such an infrastructure, for a given period of time, I find it harder to process what's happening during that time or to remember it later. More interestingly, when things go totally awry (I get sick and miss a meeting, tsunamis wreck Lanka's coasts) the empty, waiting schedules don't just disappear. I have this part of my mind that goes on thinking that things went as expected: it's still waiting for the actual fulfilment of the proposed plan. That part of my mind messes with the actual-memories files as if there are parallel memories extant. I would like to try to explain or develop this idea better: the (my) mind builds durable structures of expectation, which are draped in memory if expectations are mostly fulfilled. However these structures can continue to exist even without actually being 'true' in the actual play-out of time.

Why this is interesting: it explains two things I do all the time, procrastinate and remember things that didn't happen. It could also explain how people, especially old people, can lose their grasp on simple aspects of lived experience. Thoughts?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

They sell can openers that don't make sharp edges. The coolest thing since sliced bread: http://tinyurl.com/4k9yj (that's an amazon link to one, shoretened).

-nh

Angelo Embuldeniya (Strav) said...

Wow - u already managed to get back to Kandy so soon - my are you quite the globe trotter now aren't you - well tear drop wise that is. Hope the tear in yo thumbpad heals soon - tetanus is nothing to worry about, its the furstation you face when you're met with 'diplomatic' roadblocks and 'red tape' - i'm sure that causes more damage than tetanus - but hey look on the bright side - you've been able to pull out of both fine & with a smile too!

Cheers!
Strav.

Gretchen said...

I like your theory. It makes a lot of sense! It's sort of like what we have to think about all the time in teaching ... before presenting material you have to do something, an activity, a conversation, whatever, to get the kids minds primed for learning that material. Essentially, you're helping them make a mental framework to organize the new information/experience. I wonder if there are things that affect the elasticity of the frameworks. Like, when you are healthy, unstressed, relaxed, all of that, you can accommodate a little better to the actual reality you experience. But, when you're stressed, you don't have as many resources to do that accommodating, and so you fall back on the framework/architecture, rather than the reality you've lived. Sounds like some good research material...

I'm impressed that you find the time to ponder things like this & get your thoughts coherent enough to express here publicly. But, why should I be amazed, you've always impressed me.

cheers
-gretchen

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