Life, Memory and Alzheimer’s

14 Jul

One of my favorite dialogues from Heroes-

Mohinder(voiceover) It is man’s ability to remember that sets us apart. We are the only species that is concerned with the past. How memories give us voice. And to bear witness to history so that others might learn. So that they might celebrate our triumphs and be warned of our failures.

But what memories are good for? After all things are going to be as they have been or as they have to be. What change our memory brings to this? Memory gives us context. That is why a same event can be pleasant to someone while torturous to others.

As says another voice-over from Heroes-

Mohinder(voiceover) There are many ways to define our fragile existence. Many ways to give it meaning. But it is our memories that shape its purpose and give it context. The private assortment of images, fears, loves, regrets. For it is the cruel irony of life that we are destined to hold the dark with the light. The good with the evil. Success with disappointment. This is what separates us. What makes us human.

So are the contexts good or bad? Mostly bad- I would say from my experience. Apparently human memory has been designed in a way that we remember fear and regrets more than hopes and triumphs.

So what happens if we lose memory? Can we go back to being spontaneous like a kid? I don’t know.  – Makes me wonder.

But one thing is for sure. Even spontaneity can not make one happy. We need a pure heart and that has nothing to do with memory.

As Alana Sahikh says-

I need a heart so pure that if it’s stripped bare by dementia, it will survive.” (Alanna Shaikh)

Here is a Ted talk by Alana on how she is preparing for Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is scary, but are we doing good with our power to remember?

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