Dear Marketplace Friend,
Memorial: something set up to remind people of a person or an event. Memorial Day may be a convenient start-of-summer holiday, but its purpose is clear: it is a day set-aside to remember the men and women who gave their lives in defense of our national freedom.
That’s a tough assignment, in a culture that is suffering from historic dementia. Too many of us didn’t pick up the story line in American History class; we’ve been under the spell of revisionists who have interpreted the American drama through lenses that lead to apology for our national past instead of the celebration of our epic progression.
Memory is a funny thing; it isn’t a quality that develops on its own. Memories are the deposits made in our mind, principally by the exceptional occurrences, not the mundane.
Moshe Bar is director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at Harvard Medical School. He writes – for laymen, like me – about the curious function of the brain in archiving life as memorable history. He says that the majority of life is lost when we turn the corner; we only store in our long-term file what we deem “important.” How does something qualify for inclusion?
According to Bar, “…novelty is the primary, if not the primal, trigger of learning. What we learn, what stays in memory, are novel bits of information…” When our lives become predictable and routine, our brain doesn’t waste the space on the hard drive. That’s why – according to Bar – you cannot remember what you did two Saturdays ago…
Research is most-often forward-looking; it’s progressive. Remembering is – by definition – backward-looking; that doesn’t make it regressive, but rather, wise(“having or showing experience”).
If “God” is the subject, you may find evidence of Him in the research lab, but whatever is found there will build on the foundation of the memories of Him that are inscribed in the parchments.