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Monday, August 22, 2005

On the Subject of Losing One's Thoughts

A quote came to me spontaneously as I was avoiding paying attention in my ARE 336 class. How is it that someone can teach me the same material I learned in principles class over and over again? Is it expected that I appear interested? Anyway, I ramble because, to tell you the truth, I cannot remember the quote. Whatever it was, it was enlightening... Let's see if I can remember...

Nope... Gone. Seems that it had something to do with the human condition, our consciousness, our soul. Either that or economics, I can't remember which; but this experience lends itself to a question - where do all the lost thoughts go?

I had pondered something philosophical in my ARE class this evening and had consciously thought to myself "I should share that in my blog, I'd like to get some reaction. Besides, what a good way to record my thoughts." Then I had an urge to write it down in my notebook. I failed to do so, why? I don't know but I'd venture a guess that it was because I suddenly got distracted by the person sitting next to me and his lack of grasping the conecept of consumer surplus. Being the benevolent-sharer-of-knowledge I am (scoffs are welcome) I turned my attention to him, completely losing my train of thought. I wouldn't think twice of helping him again as it really doesn't bother me. What is irritating is that I have no clue where the thought went.

So you know, I have had an intro to psychology course and I understand the correct scientific answer. The memory is a complex process with distinct subprocesses, one of which takes general information about the context of thoughts and experience--that is environment, time, visual cues, and the like--to make the information easy to recall later, perhaps moving to long term memory if necessary. I'm not pondering on that point... I'm pondering on the point of "where did it go?" It's there, somewhere I'm sure, waiting to be recalled as are millions of other thoughts I've had and can't remember. Or is it? Do we "delete" information we no long need, as one might do with a computer file? Is it stored in that mythical (and untrue) 90% of our unused psyche? Is that electrical impulse, that network of nerves connecting to bring about a coherent thought, stored permanentally as magnetic data is on a hard drive even long after its been deleted?

Stuff that in your pipe and smoke it. Let me know how the smoke turns out :-D

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