Thursday, April 29, 2010

Time Travelling in Your Mind

It was many, many years ago, I was around the age of 3 or 4 and I remember sitting in front of dad's reel to reel player listening to a Steppenwolf album that I enjoyed the music and thought had a cool cover. All I remembered about the cover was the band was green on it and there were 2 skulls in the background (even then in my little mind, skulls = pretty cool). I would always ask my dad to put it on because I didn't know how to work the thing to make it play and I spent a lot of time listening to it. A few weeks ago, I randomly thought of this album cover again and wondered what I would think of it now if I were to listen to it 30 years later. I searched out Steppenwolf album covers and found the image below and instantly sought out a way to acquire a copy of the album.

After I was able to get it, I loaded it onto the mighty iPod and went for a drive. As the first song came on I was instantly transported back in time 30 years to being that little kid listening to rock n' roll on dad's reel to reel, sitting there with the big 70's style headphones on upside-down because they were too big to fit on my head, then something else happened. I started singing along with the song. This completely took me by surprise. I had not even heard any of these songs, even in passing, since I was 4, how the hell do I know the words?!?

The brain is a very complex organ that we still don't fully understand or know how to use it to its full potential. It would have been nice to know how to quickly call upon stored memory through high school, it would have made things much easier. What is it about sights, sounds, and smells that instantly trigger memories from times long gone?

I understand how some mnemonic devices work, like for reading music you remember the lines of E, G, B, D, and F with "Every Good Boy Does Fine" and the spaces with F, A, C, and E as the word face. That makes sense to me, but I don't understand how songs I've not listened to or even thought of for 30 years is still hanging around in there when I can't even remember things I did 2 weeks ago.

Since there is so much more that we are unaware of that our brain does and how it operates there is so much potential to improve on our thought process. We just need to find a way to tap into the ability to just reach in and grab those memories on command. If there was a way to remember everything we've ever been told, taught, learned, and read just by mentally accessing it in seconds, I believe the world would be a much better place. It may even give us the ability to travel back in time in our mind to fully see what was going on around us, and experience it all over again, we will not be able to change anything, but we will still be able to re-live the experience. So come on scientists, let's try to figure out how we can access the reaches of our mind for things on command.

And I still think that's a badass album cover