Retrieving Lost Memories: Recreating Triggers

Written by Dyami Millarson

Oftentimes I do not write down my best ideas, because I wish to train my memory. I control my urge to write down the idea immediately, because I am aware of the fear that I might lose a brilliant idea. I know that one event follows another and in the busyness of life, I easily forget the good ideas that I got in a moment of reflection. However, forgetting is good. I believe that if I cannot recall something that I forgot, then it was not that important after all. I believe that I should be able to reproduce anything that I ever thought of, because it comes from my brain and even if I lost some of my memories, I still have my brain. While I have the same brain, I have noticed many times in my life that I will reach the same conclusions and have the same thoughts as I had earlier, but I had forgotten about it for a while until the moment I recalled it again.

I do not see forgetting as a scary thing. In fact, forgetting is part of my daily routine. I may seem chaotic by constantly forgetting my ideas, but that helps me actually to filter what is irrelevant. Whatever is not relevant will not be reproduced a second or third time, because my brain simply does not register those ideas as important. I often base my ideas on frequent observations and therefore when I forget something, I can simply ask myself: What triggered me to have an idea that I cannot recall at the moment? What was the origin? Once I start looking for the source of the idea and if I do identify the source correctly, my brain reproduces the same idea and that way I retrieve the lost memory of an idea.

While I do not make much effort to fight the temporary loss of memories, I do make an active effort to retrieve them. I see it as a game of pushing away and pulling closer. In other words, I have a push-pull relationship with my memories. This is how I select ideas for my articles and this is how I learn languages; I rely on the natural human tendency to forget things, and consequently only to recall whatever is relevant. I have noticed I do generally think the same thought multiple times before it becomes pronounced; a memory of an idea needs time to evolve and take shape until I will be fully grasped by the mind and consequently verbalised. This is why a routine of repetition is vital for memory. I do, however, not force that repetition. I just create an environment that encourages me to naturally see the same things and naturally think the same thoughts until I can remember properly. I reduce stimuli drastically because I consider most things completely irrelevant, and this helps me make a very small selection of items that I consider relevant for recollection.

One comment

  1. I often admire the various ways, a human brain uses triggers for memories, be it good or bad. By the meantime I think, there always is some spare storage place, if just there is a triggering partner created by the senses with the verbal thoughts, as visual memories, sounds or smells, as you do with the same environment.

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