In the past decade, scientists have come to realize that our memories are not inert packets of data and they don’t remain constant. Even though every memory feels like an honest representation, that sense of authenticity is the biggest lie of all. […] The very act of remembering changes the memory itself. New research is showing that every time we recall an event, the structure of that memory in the brain is altered in light of the present moment, warped by our current feelings and knowledge.
Jonah Lehrer, “The Forgetting Pill.” Wired, March 2012.
I found this tidbit of information fascinating. It makes perfect sense, now that I think about it, and puts several important things into perspective. To remember events, the memories must change in accordance with current circumstances. This is why witness testimony becomes useless after an extended period of time.
Also, for centuries humans have defined themselves by their memories. They make us who we are. If we can’t trust them from moment to moment, it feels almost like a rug’s been pulled out from under our feet. Maybe we’re a lot less stable than we thought.
Whether it’s games, alcohol, painted figurines, film continuity, or conversations where we’re convinced someone doesn’t like us because of something we said, nerds obsess. We zealously deconstruct. We have a very active internal monologue. I think many of the things we undertake are, in part, attempts to drown out that monologue … A "nerdist" - or creative nerd - shares all of these traits but controls them in a way that allows them to deconstruct an idea and map out a plan so the idea can come to life. A nerdist can learn to turn off that internal monologue and calm the mind, the better to think about getting to the next level and its advanced set of rewards and challenges. Nerdist = obsession + direction.
Another excellent quote from Chris Hardwick’s “Self-Help for Nerds” article in the Nov. 11 issue of WIRED magazine. It sounds cheesy, but it feels like he’s speaking directly to me. I can see kids and adults reading this and thinking: Thank God I’m not the only one.
When nerds run out of things in the external world to deconstruct and analyze, guess where they go? Inward. We become the object of our own deconstruction protocols; an auto-cannibalism of sorts … A simple mantra has guided me through the darkest bouts of autocerebral asphyxiation: You don’t have to believe everything you think. I know, right?? If you are having trouble uploading positive images to your ego satellites, here is a great tactic: Ignore your f—-ing brain altogether.
From Chris Hardwick’s excellent article “Self-Help for Nerds,” printed in the November 2011 issue of WIRED. Seriously, you all, this is a powerful article that puts the nerdy brain in an exploded diagram and explains with both understanding humor and grave clarity exactly how the whole thing works. I felt inspired by the end.