Memorial Day and the Power of Memory

Sometimes it is worthwhile to stop and consider how brilliant and powerful the human brain is that it permits us to not only observe life unfolding in front of us, but also record it forever. Memory is such a fascinating and complex behavior that we do not fully understand how it works. Our ability to remember, however, permits us to build our autobiography, our own personal life story.

The brain is really not like a computer because there is not finite space or hard drive. Indeed, the brain has plasticity and can continue to encode and retain new experiences across the lifespan. This creates a dynamic and fluid capacity for our autobiography to be developed and told.

It is true that some memories are not positive and may be difficult to erase from the life story. This can lead to post-traumatic-stress-disorder and may reduce a person’s ability to function normally. Fortunately, we can replay the positive memories in our lives and this can help to create feelings of happiness and to ease our sorrow when we grieve the loss of a loved one.

Today, the United States honors its veterans for their dedication and sacrifice to our freedom and liberty. Veterans are fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and many have fallen to the call of duty. I hope the families of all veterans tap into the positive memories of their loved ones to make this special holiday a good one.

Happy Memorial Day!