Our mind does a funny thing to us. It slips. It edits. If there’s an association you’re missing it will fill it in for you. It has its own filing system. You would think that we would file things in an ordinary way, maybe alphanumeric or some easy way to retrieve this information that seems important, like the name of street you drive down hundreds of times. I was trying to remember the a street name recently. It actually wasn’t one I drive, but it was one block over from my usual street. I could picture it because I was wanting to tell someone the story about the gorgeous girl I saw being photographed downtown in front of the blue door. She was tall, the girl, not the door.
Street names Sheridan vs Cincinnati
The only named street that kept coming to mind was Sheridan and I knew the name was wrong and I’m banging my head trying to think of the right name, doing word associations, knowing my memory has played a trick on me. It’s the one block over trick. Sheridan is one block over from the street where I live. My mind thought it was a good substitute I guess. I wasn’t getting anywhere so I gave up and waited until I could get home and look it up because Google would not fail me!
By now most of us realize our memories aren’t card cataloged and ordered by color coding. My memory reminds me more of a game of charades with hand gestures than any type of organizational system. I got home and looked up the name of the street, Cincinnati. Well Duh. One street over from Detroit. Now I wonder if the door was really blue.
If you feel like geeking out, Steven Kotler sent this out in his email list this week, The Real Neuroscience of Creativity. It’s not about memory storage, but it has some interesting info regarding creativity and how we use our brain.
Warning! Space less than 2 inches. Air in short supply. The alarms are ringing, every muscle in my body is stiff. My brain is not functioning. Shut down in 10, 9, 8, etc.
I have felt extreme panic just driving over a narrow bridge. It felt as if my blood was ice-cold, my breath stuck in my lungs, and panic seized my entire body, just as if a tiger was right in front of me. Is it fear or is it my alarm warning of true danger? Sometimes it’s hard to tell.
When I was first married, we allowed a door to door, fire and security alarm salesman to come into our new home. Partly because the salesman was a friend of a friend and partly to hear what the guy had to say, we let him go through his salesman pitch. A good salesman can sell ice cubes to an Eskimo they always say. This guy was good. And he used fear as his purchase motivation. He casually looked out our back window. Noticing a privacy fence, he told a scenario of a burglar or rapist climbing over a fence and breaking into our home while I was alone. Normally those thoughts would scare me, but not this time. His fear tactic was a little too obvious. He painted his scary story with too much cliché.
Resetting my alarm is something I’ve worked with for 15 years and more. With the recent crime spree in Tulsa I’ve had to get a grip. My solution was to buy a security alarm, read up on home invasion prevention, and listen to some hypnosis audio to help ease the panic. Of course some of the danger was real, but like the salesman who painted the picture of danger, my mind’s vivid imagination was a bit overdone.
The Tulsa rapist came to an ironic end. After his 8th assault, he swerved off the highway and crashed into a pole. The police had already identified him as a potential suspect and with the last bit of DNA evidence, they confirmed him as the rapist. He was brain-dead from the crash and before the DA could file charges against him, his family pulled the plug.