TDB&TB Question #16 ~ Memory

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TDB&TB Question #16 ~ Memory

Unread postby Liz » Tue May 20, 2008 10:20 am

Jean-Do has many memories while in Berck-sur-Mer. What part do you think memory played in his story, in his getting through…..or not?
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Unread postby Parlez » Tue May 20, 2008 11:31 am

Right off the bat I said to myself, this is the tragedy of Alzheimer's...no memory = no life. But, in some ways memory can be a double-edged sword; it's a part of the mind that can bring both great joy and great sorrow. Sometimes it's not so bad to have a 'clean slate' where every day is fresh and new and not burdened by the past.

However, in Jean-Do's case he himself claimed at the outset that the two things he still had were his memory and his imagination. So, for him, I think his ability to remember things like the taste of food and the places he visited and the people who were important to him kept him connected to life and to living and, for the most part, provided great solace and inspiration. The down side was that he likewise had to remember the person he was before the accident. :bawl:
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Unread postby Liz » Tue May 20, 2008 1:29 pm

Good points, Parlez! There is a distinct difference between Jean-Do's situation and that of an Alzheimer's patient. An Alzheimer's patient can still function, making new memories from moment to moment. But because Jean-Do was so immobile, all he had was his memory. And you have to have memory to draw on to fuel your imagination, I would think.
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Unread postby fansmom » Tue May 20, 2008 2:21 pm

In addition to Parlez's comment about Jean-Do's memory and imagination, I am also in awe of his memory in terms of getting his story told. To be able to compose his book mentally, without making an outline or even notes, and have it be coherent, is quite a feat.

Liz wrote:And you have to have memory to draw on to fuel your imagination, I would think.
I remember watching a young baby (about 3 months old) smile in her sleep, and wondering what she was thinking about. She had so few memories at that point.

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Unread postby Endora » Tue May 20, 2008 2:44 pm

fansmom wrote:In addition to Parlez's comment about Jean-Do's memory and imagination, I am also in awe of his memory in terms of getting his story told. To be able to compose his book mentally, without making an outline or even notes, and have it be coherent, is quite a feat.

Liz wrote:And you have to have memory to draw on to fuel your imagination, I would think.
I remember watching a young baby (about 3 months old) smile in her sleep, and wondering what she was thinking about. She had so few memories at that point.


Hasn't it been shown (goodness knows how) that memory does not develop until speech does?

Fansmom, yes. Remembering a whole sentence and its punctuation is horrific. I write a bit, and when the best ideas come it's nigh on impossible to just hold them undamaged like Jean-Do could. It certainly was an awesome avchievement.
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Unread postby fansmom » Tue May 20, 2008 2:59 pm

Endora wrote:Hasn't it been shown (goodness knows how) that memory does not develop until speech does?
Well, not always.
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Unread postby Endora » Tue May 20, 2008 3:05 pm

fansmom wrote:
Endora wrote:Hasn't it been shown (goodness knows how) that memory does not develop until speech does?
Well, not always.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312372426/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top


That's certainly an interesting story! But for most of us, we only remember incidents post language devel, don't we? Or maybe I have a really bad memory for my own childhood?
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue May 20, 2008 3:13 pm

That was an amazing feat. If I don't write something down when I think of it the chances of me remembering it are slim. I can't imagine the frustration of not being able to communicate like the child in that story or someone in Jean-Do's condidtion. I suppose Jean-Do trained his mind though as a way to compensate. Without his memories and imagination he would have had nothing to keep him going day after day.
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Unread postby Parlez » Tue May 20, 2008 5:16 pm

In the metaphysical world (and amongst the Buddhists) it is believed that memory can go waaay back - to past lives and primordial experiences. It's all a matter of training the mind to remember.

Also, they say our knee-jerk reactions to things like spiders and rats, which are no longer really threatening but to which we react automatically is if they are, are actually survival fears encoded in us at the cellular level, linking back to a time in our collective unconscious which we no longer remember but which nevertheless had a profound impact on our evolution as human beings.

Ergo, it seems completely agreeable to me that a baby could smile at a distant memory of...something...pleasant. Time spent in the womb? A past life? A collective reminiscence? Who knows? Some people say we are born knowing everything and that our whole lives are a process of forgetting.

However, what Jean-Do was able to do with the memories swirling around in his head was stunning. The ability to keep every detail in mind the way he did, as well as having the patience to hold on to each and every nuance of word and punctuation and tenor and tone was completely amazing. It showed me, among other things, how lazy we get in our thinking and how sloppy in our detail, and how high and refined the mind can really be.
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Unread postby nebraska » Tue May 20, 2008 7:18 pm

Good answers! Not much that I can add to what has already been said.

I remember things by photographs......if I take pictures, I can remember the pictures even if the event is long gone from my mind. It makes me wonder about Jean-Do's vivid memory and if there are differences in memory styles like there are differences in learning styles.....

Has anyone figured out yet why Firefox doesn't want to just open my link to ONBC and instead tells me I have to download an application? I really don't like using Internet Explorer. :-?

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Unread postby fansmom » Tue May 20, 2008 9:39 pm

nebraska wrote:Has anyone figured out yet why Firefox doesn't want to just open my link to ONBC and instead tells me I have to download an application? I really don't like using Internet Explorer. :-?
I had that happen yesterday with Explorer. Scared the socks off me. :yikes: I had downloaded a routine Microsoft security update and thought that might have messed things up, but then, whew, on my 14th try, it worked.

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Unread postby Liz » Tue May 20, 2008 10:41 pm

fansmom wrote:
nebraska wrote:Has anyone figured out yet why Firefox doesn't want to just open my link to ONBC and instead tells me I have to download an application? I really don't like using Internet Explorer. :-?
I had that happen yesterday with Explorer. Scared the socks off me. :yikes: I had downloaded a routine Microsoft security update and thought that might have messed things up, but then, whew, on my 14th try, it worked.


Nebraska, you need to delete your cookies and possibly your temporary JDZ internet file. I had to do that, even though, the problem had been solved. And I find it interesting that it happened to you with Explorer, Fansmom. That would have freaked me right out if it had happened with both.
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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Liz » Tue May 20, 2008 10:48 pm

Endora wrote:
fansmom wrote:
Endora wrote:Hasn't it been shown (goodness knows how) that memory does not develop until speech does?
Well, not always.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312372426/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top


That's certainly an interesting story! But for most of us, we only remember incidents post language devel, don't we? Or maybe I have a really bad memory for my own childhood?


That does look like an interesting story! :-O The brain is a very fascinating subject in many ways. I think there are still so many unanswered questions. I've enjoyed reading all of your thoughts on this subject.
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Unread postby suec » Wed May 21, 2008 2:21 am

I think memory, in a way, is like a bank account, to the extent that it is important in life to made made enough "deposits" with experiences, and so when looking back, we do have our memories that give us a sense of a life fully-lived, as well a something to draw upon and sustain us. Or roses in December, as JM Barrie put it. Jean-Do seems to have lived a particularly full life, in some ways. But his accident happened to him too young.
Whether his memory got him through or not... Well, he drew on his memory to dictate the book, not only in terms of providing subject matter, but also in preparing the dictation. I kind of feel that the book itself is what got him through, if anything. Memories are all very well, but it was in sharing them that Jean-Do was able to reach out to other human beings, to communicate with them: surely a vital component in life and a way to try to deal with the awful loneliness he felt. Also, writing about the memories, and his flights of fancy, helped to shape those experiences, to some extent, and make them concrete.
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Unread postby Liz » Wed May 21, 2008 11:58 am

suec wrote: Whether his memory got him through or not... Well, he drew on his memory to dictate the book, not only in terms of providing subject matter, but also in preparing the dictation. I kind of feel that the book itself is what got him through, if anything. Memories are all very well, but it was in sharing them that Jean-Do was able to reach out to other human beings, to communicate with them: surely a vital component in life and a way to try to deal with the awful loneliness he felt. Also, writing about the memories, and his flights of fancy, helped to shape those experiences, to some extent, and make them concrete.


Good points! I agree that communicating those memories was more important than having the memories themselves.....and probably even more important to him than the average person because communication was such a challenge for him.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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