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Philosophy

How To Forget

Whenever persons with an eidetic memory meet new people or stumble upon some acquaintance after a significant length of time, they should be required by law to read a version of Miranda rights: “you have the right to withhold sensitive and potentially damaging information, whatever you say can be and will be used against you at some time in the future.” While it may be tempting to wish for the ability to never ever forget even the most trivial trivia, such as who was the ruler of Mesopotamia between 539 and 332 BC – we all know the world is and always will be the kingdom of the Lord, it is actually not so desirable. You see, the brain doesn’t discriminate between the embarrassing and the happy memories and we all know which ones are in more abundance in one’s life.

Jerry Seinfeld argued that superman must also, along with super everything else, have a super sense of humour. This analogy can easily be extended to the Wise One, because He must have been in one of his Ironic moods when he decreed – “when thou try to forget thy first day of school, thou art really remembering not forgetting”. Here’s a quick exercise: forget how deliciously hot, tangy and cheesy your favourite pizza is. Use coupon code: “damn it” for a 0% discount.

Granted, most people do not have a tape-recorder for brain which can be re-wound to replay every little moment of the past; nonetheless, at this moment 99.99% of human beings are trying to either forget something embarrassing or something painful. Both such memories are a characteristic of a failed relationship. Getting over someone has been talked about, sung about, and made movies about so much because it is a difficult and yet an essential part of modern life.

Old Pavlov proved that you can in fact teach an old dog a new trick by training and un-training his dogs to drool when a bell rang. If you happen to be struggling with a memory, you can train your brain, like Pavlov trained his dogs, to not think about it again by associating it with something unpleasant. Any time the memory surfaces, do something unpleasant instantly – for instance, watch dhinchak pooja’s video, and the brain will think twice before replaying that memory again. This, my friends, is how you forget.

Picture credit: Lulu Hoeller via flickr

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