Remembering the past

I am reading this very interesting novel called ‘Before I go to sleep’. Incidentally I started reading this book right after I finished reading ‘Brain Rules’. I say incidentally because both these books are about the brain – one about how it works, the other about what happens when a function of it (memory) doesn’t work (efficiently).

‘Before I go to sleep’ is about a lady who has amnesia. She remembers nothing about her past after a certain incident in her life. Everything that happens during the day gets erased from her memory once she goes to sleep. So every time she wakes up, she remembers nothing of the past, but for some very old memories (a concept similar to the Drew Barrymore – Adam Sandler romantic hit ’50 first dates’).

The story got me thinking about the importance of memory, the importance of the past. We are who we are because of our experiences. A lot of what we do today is the result of something that happened to us in the past (Past behaviour is the best indicator of future performance). However, we rarely give any importance to the past’s contribution, except for maybe when it comes to preparing a resume or giving a job interview.

There is an interesting question in the book – What are the events in your life that have been important in shaping who you are?

I believe it is important to remember and reflect on those life-changing events every once in a while. This will help us remember the WHY – Why do we do what we do? Why is it important to us? Why did we choose to do it a certain way and not any other. It will help us remember the purpose behind things that are important.

PS: If you enjoy crime thrillers, I recommend you pick a copy of ‘Before you go to sleep’, by S J Watson.

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