Knowing You Lost a Memory

This is something I have been thinking about for a while, and is truly falls in the category of Random Thoughts as it shows all the random crap that goes through the empty space between my ears. I let it slowly simmer and ferment in my mind for the past few months as I tried to get a better grasp of it. In the end it is not that big of a deal, just something that bothered me.

Not too long ago I read The Giver by Lowis Lowery, which is a great book and I can see why it is so popular. If you have not read it you should really check it out and you can read a review I did of it here. Be advised that there are spoilers ahead!

The book takes place in a dystopian future where each society has a Giver, that keeps all the memories from the past civilization before it was destroyed. Eventually the Giver has to pass on these memories to the next person that will take his place. This makes for a neat and thought provoking story. However I did have a problem with the idea behind all this, but as I mentioned above it is not really that big a deal but something to think about.

The Giver gives Jonas memories, ok no problem there, but here is what I don’t understand. When The Giver gives those memories, I was under the impression he was able to remember giving the memory, thus remembering the memory itself. Yet he says he no long has it or can enjoy it. To me this is the making of a paradox, which you know I love.

So let’s say you have a memory of going sledding on this one particular hill behind your house. You remember everything about that day how cold it was, the snow on the ground, the sled color, all the important details. Now let us suppose that you have the power to give memories away as The Giver does. You want someone to have this memory as it is very enjoyable. So you give it away to your best friend, and no longer have it. In the story I again was under the impression that The Giver knows that he no longer has the memory he gave away. So once you give it away you realize that you no longer have that memory of sledding, the cold, the snow, and the sled color, but if you know you do not have the specific memory, you still remember the memory!

It is a crazy circular argument that, I think, is fun to think about. Knowing you don’t have a that specific memory is in essence remembering it. Now there is also just not remembering a certain thing, which I would argue is different from what I am trying to say. In that case you genuinely do not have the memory as you cannot remember any details of it, in essence it is forgotten. This is knowing you forgot it, or knowing you gave it away. I gave you the memory of the time we went to Disney World and rode all the rides and had a great time, I do not have it any more. Am I making any sense here?

It is like telling your math teacher I have given my memory of how to multiply numbers to Jim. I no longer remember to carry the one and add the zero, I gave those memories away. See it does not make sense.  Still knowing you no longer have a very specific memory I believe makes little sense, as you remember not having it, so you still know about it and in around about way still have the memory. I don’t really have a point other then I think maybe Lowery overlooked this aspect while writing the book. I would also say that perhaps I am reading into this way way way too much! Still its fun to think about.

Also, for no other reason other than I think this is awesome I posted this GIF of a probe approaching Titan, one of the moons of Saturn. Pretty cool!!




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