It isn’t often that I link out to another article, but this case is both fascinating and should give everyone room to pause and reflect. It has to do with a person who has no episodic memories, a very rare condition. Episodic memories are a function of long term memory which involve experiences, events and conditions. Episodic memories are thought to play a significant role in a person’s self-identity. The person who is described in the article has had no episodic memories since birth. How does she function? Does she have a sense of identity? Here is a little snippet from the article;
“and it’s hard to escape the creeping sense that she’s not just different—she’s lucky. Memories that would be searing to anyone else leave little impression on her. Like the time in 1986 when the couple was living in Arizona and Green was jumped by a group of white men while out fishing. When he came home, his head was covered with welts. “She went to get ice and she started crying,” Green says. He began to cry too. They felt terrorized.
Once again, McKinnon knows the salient facts of the story, but the details and the painful associations all reside with Green. For McKinnon, the memory doesn’t trigger the trauma and fear associated with it. “I can imagine being upset and scared, but I don’t remember that at all,” she says. “I can’t put myself back there. I can only imagine what it would have been like.”
McKinnon also quickly forgets arguments, which might be the reason she and Green have stayed together so long, she jokes. She cannot hold a grudge.”
It is a great article, well worth the read and if you have any interest in the role of memory in personal development and identity I strongly encourage you to go visit the article from the link below;
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