Memory = Imagination

Here’s an interesting thought:

In order to remember anything, you must imagine it.

Visualize this: a black-with-white-spots bowling ball, spinning on the tip of a pool cue held on the nose of a pink poodle, wearing Elton John garb and glasses, while peddling a stainless steel tricycle.

Do you see it?

Now, recall the inside of your refrigerator.

One is a fabrication while the other is a memory. Yet both are constructed from the same mental processes – imagination. We must imagine memories to remember them. Your first car. Your first house. Your favorite coffee cup. All memories, all recreated as imagined visions.

Now, who’s to say that your memories are not fabricated from nothing — everything you “think” you experienced in the past is just a planted “imagination” — like that pink poodle and its glam antics — they never happened. You only think they did because of memories — which are…


18 thoughts on “Memory = Imagination

  1. What we remember is not always what really happened. We see things from a specific perspective. Things might look different from another. Also, we focus on different things more than others. We are selective in what we choose to remember and it what light. So yes, imagination indeed.

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    1. So, what we experience, real time, is an interpretation of reality performed by our visual and cerebral cortexes. AND the recall of that visualized reality is recreated from our memory by the same interpretation engine. Double attenuation.
      Therefore, pretty much nothing we remember could even vaguely be considered accurate. No wonder we’re in love with “life recorders” — video clips that can recall without bias. I don’t have to remember, I can just replay it.

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  2. I had a “discussion” long ago (early 20s) with one of my then sister in laws. We were in square Naval commander retiree FIL’s car. The discussion was about perceptive reality. Does the billboard exist because we accept it? Would it cease if we decided it wasn’t real? FIL lost it on us.
    There is also proof that whatever acronym it is now for photographic memory, those hwo have it, as I did in my youth and got tired of the tests, that people with that form not only vivid reality snapshots but have been accused of having memories that never happened except in their imaginations. Fortunately LSD proves that both the above thoughts are valid. Reality by consent and artificial memory. Because dig this – your brain doesn’t know the difference. Ever had a dream, fleeting as it may have been, and at some point later found yourself standing there? Ever have knowlege of an event go straight back to a point in time where you were told the whole story in a cosmic instant but couldn’t see it? Man oh man.
    The Elton dog is a VALID visualization ONLY if we embalm it with credibility. Otherwise it is seen but dismissed. Sick can’t be unseen. There is no clorox for your eyes or imagination – careful when you pull the curtain back.

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  3. I dig this “matrix-ey” thought of yours. Btw, “I don’t bleed red.” Best improved line and edit. I dig that too! Totally absorbing your thoughts now…thank you very much for your time. Taking me to the next level. And, new post up. Pivotal.

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    1. Blood is bluish green until it meets air. Taking a magic fingers to Mexico is hardly pivotal unless there’s a Prince Valiant plot in a secret lost time shunt tunnel disguised as a taqueria outside Guadalajara somewhere.

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  4. You, making us think again…and then question whether what we are thinking is really what we think we are thinking. 😉

    I couldn’t help but wonder how Nietzsche would apply this notion to his theory of Eternal Reoccurrence. If we did, in fact, have to live the same exact life over and over, would it be the one we remembered to be true or the one we imagined to be true?

    Just a thought…

    “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.”
    ― Albert Camus

    “But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.”
    ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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    1. And you know, I only write down a fraction of the silly ideas that percolate through the limestone caverns of my mind.
      I love AC – I sign all my emails with a quote of his: We must imagine Sisyphus, happy.
      (Of course the other quote I include is from the Royal Society: Nullius in Verba — trust no one.)
      Nietzsche – that rascal. I recall he used a round typewriter — looked like a ball with keys sticking out like dull-spines.
      And us – we damnable humans, way too cleverly complex for our own good. “Imagine six impossible things before breakfast.”


  5. Perfectly stated. I’ll take some theoretical physics into account and go you one further: reality itself is a product of the mind, which is the same thing as saying it’s a product of the imagination, both individual and collective, which of course, feed each other.

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    1. Perhaps, but if I imagine you writing something pleasurable to read — as opposed to the offal being tugged from the belly of a cancerous Canadian caribou — will my reality supersede yours?


      1. Actually, it’s the Curmudge of your imagination. If you and Mole were to align your imaginations with the current manifestation of mine, you’d be on the edge o’ yer seat awaiting the next episode of Fifteen.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Hi A.Mole,

    Once again you have hit the real issue for all writers, both fiction and factual and you have taken it down to the molecular level. I feel the way you describe every time I write something. It always amuses me when people ask, “Is it true?” I guess on a very basic level, meaning the person is just lying about the whole thing, maybe that is a distinction that can be made. The Clifford Irving Hughes book and A Million Little Pieces come to mind, both works of great imagination and daring. Irving particular had balls the size of two cantaloupes. An insight that has always struck me is that some writers claim truth when in fact they are lying, while others call things fictional which are actually disguised facts. I’d rather be in the latter group. Anyway, I need to read the post again. Thanks. Duke

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Honestly, I hadn’t applied this realization to writing. But, as I read your words, it appears the truth or falsity of our stories is in fact, both. And as you state, this applies to tales that are intended to be true as well as those written in full fantasy. They’re both true in our minds as we visualize them. They’re both false in the fact that their stories exist only as recreations.

      Our truth is now. This instant. The past and the future are only false shadows of what has or may be.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. There is the school of thought in creative that either first or thrid person there is a constant battle between the characters and the reader for credibility. Do we buy in, suspend disbelief or are we sparring with the narrator?

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