Memory sins

My memory is becoming poor. Often I fail to retrieve what is in store. More often I face temporary blocking of stored information. It is not uncommon for me not to remember the name of a familiar face. I often ‘edit’ and ‘rewrite’ on my mental slate unknowingly and unconsciously. Often I tend to combine bits of memory from two separate episodes. Often I forget because I am not interested to retain it. In short, I am afflicted with memory sins.

Our memory sins, writes Daniel Schacter, are an integral part of the mind’s heritage. We should not complain. They illuminate how memory draws on the past to inform the present, preserves elements of present experiences for future reference, and allows us to revisit the past at will. Memory’s vices, in fact, are its virtues.