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The Pasta Theory of Memory & Your Personal Beginning of Time

The Pasta Theory of Memory & Your Personal Beginning of Time Facts So Romantic Nautilus


The wholesale forgetting of our first three or four years is called “childhood amnesia,” and its cause has been debated for a century. Sigmund Freud believed that these memories were repressed, and could be retrieved through psychotherapy. Other psychologists favor a more physical interpretation: The circuitry in our brains just isn’t developed well enough yet to acquire memories, so there isn’t anything there later to retrieve.

Bauer’s research points toward a third possibility: Children are actively forming memories even at a very young age, but they lose them faster than adults do. “I compare memory to a colander,” Bauer says. “If you’re cooking fettucine, the pasta stays in. But if you’re cooking orzo, it goes right through the holes. The immature brain is a lot like a colander with big holes, and the little memories are like the orzo. As you get older, you’re either getting bigger pasta or a net with smaller holes.”

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Still, I've come to believe that what happens to us in our formative years -- those years in which we don't remember anything -- affects everything we do as adults.

Those early years are when the foundations of our personality and ability to trust people are formed.

This not acurate in my view and my view is correct. :)

Babies and toddlers do not "display" memories because they do not have adequate language.  They remember in images and on a functional level.  Once language develops it becomes dominant. They remember the story over the image (like reading a book vs watching movie without sound) and then have a hard time recalling sensations and perceptions because we communicate in words. We may not remember the specifics of the first time we walked but we remember walking. 

Psychotherapy for early childhood memories is difficult if not impossible because you are attempting to access them through language but they were created in a space without words. 

As a somatic therapist I helped people recall memories at every age because I would work through touch and movement without language (once the image is recalled, you will tend to create story around it and then the psychology of the narrative we create shapes the experience of the recalled sensations).

As a meditator both body and speech drop away so you access directly through mind.  As the experience is reviewed you will start to either "feel it" or "speak it" and pull you out of mind into body or speech most of the time endind the review (which you may or may not be able to get back to doing).

However if you can stay in the state of mind,  you can have an infinite potential for recall. 

From a human development view, if every thing is stored and conditions us, we should not get too obsessive of not having difficult memories.  For example a child gets hurt falling, you need to feel it is not pleasant, perceive it is something to avoid and find the story that boo boos heal quickly and not something to dwell on. (Kids will tell boo boo stories that barely happened when the topic comes out and adults with chronic health issues often  tell boo boo stories all the time to themselves and others).  

Language is very much the enemy of mental clarity. Just because you cannot voice it does not mean you do not remember it. 

The link to the "expert opinion" in the post is called "the affliction of intellect".  

We start to believe that our perception which has been reinforced for centuries is absolutely true and disregard other's experiences when they don't conform to this truth.  I remember events from 300+ years ago.  I remember states pre-conception.  I forgot almost all the math I learned in this life.  It all depends on where you focus your intent. (Math is a use it or lose it language for most, only those with deep "math karma" reflexively speak in numbers/symbols.)

“As adults, we don’t have any memories of the first 3 or 4 years of our lives, except perhaps a stray one here or there,” says Patricia Bauer, a psychologist at Emory University. The average age for the earliest memory in the U.S. is 3½ years, a number that has been consistently documented for more than a century. But there are variations, Bauer says. About one in 30 adults report a memory as young as age 1, while another one in 30 doesn’t remember anything before age 6, 7, or even 8. "

How can we remember events from 300 years ago but not from 30 years ago?

Why does the brain choose to remember some things?

By you asking about 30 years, I instantly calculated I was 15 which placed me back in high school and my mind went to dominate memories of high school but I was 16-17.  At 15th birthday I was freshman.  If I tried I could start walking back memories and get a pretty clear idea of the overall experience of freshman. 

I am not interested at all at pursuing that.   

A few people with perfect recall can tell you exactly what happened at any given time.  If 6 people can do that, and 7 billion cannot, those 6 display the system capacity and the billions display the delusion that this is not how the mind works.  

Perhaps it is a defense mechanism to wipe away access to that part of the memory?

There are many reasons to forget. 

But it is more important to use your mind in the way that you want as opposed to trying to reach full potential or just taking it as a given. 

My primary role in life now is a father. I practice things that will help make me a better father. 

If I was still working as a physical/psychological therapist I would have a different balance. 

If I was trying to become a teacher or scholar it would be entirely different as I would have to memorize thousands of pages of text and learn multiple languages. 

I cannot do everything so I focus on what is best for my aspiration. In my case, remembering a past life 300 years ago is directly related to being a father far more than memorizing texts.  

For me, the focus is what should I do and be so that my children will describe me to their grandchildren in the way I intend.

What way do you intend?

I remember several factual occurrences of my early years, and the memories have remained consistent... probably because there were witnesses to corroborate them and they were also BIG PASTA events for me at that age that made an indelible impression, for example: learning to swim, which occurred just before my 2nd birthday.


Not only do I recall several experiences at that age as images but also as smells, such as the chlorine on my Mom's hair as I clung to her neck.  The cold wet of her bathing suit.  My shrieks and cries and my terrifying feeling as I was thrown back into the pool... again.  And then after two times I swam.  And laughed.  And played in the pool--I can still see snippets of these things.

So you're probably right Adam, perhaps such events have shaped me, as I have continuously enjoyed being "thrown in" to various situations throughout my life.  

But I do remember a surprising good deal from my early years... it's these more recent times where I'm becoming more amnesia prone--like where did I put my car keys, my phone and my wallet?!

I have read that certain triggers such as scents and music can automatically trigger access to memories. Something about that shortcut mechanism reminds me of what Mark says above -- language has it's limitations and sometimes the memory is about a feeling, not words.

Eye - sight 

Ears - sound

Nose - smell 

Mouth - taste

Body - touch/movement

The five aggregate senses lead to five consciousnesses . They are pure without picking or choosing or labeling. (You cannot not feel stepping 

on a nail often labeled by an expletive)

The six is "base consciousness" that gradully becomes dominated by language.  

Even as early as 20 weeks in utero the being starts to feel grasping for pleasure or aversion to discomfort.  These come from the mothers actions but also inate. My little one does not like Mexican food. At 20 week ultrasound you can see the stress response in movement, heart rate and "breathing."

Everything leads to what we call a karmic trace in base consciousness. Like an infinite holographic memory bank. 

So you hold a rose.  You can simply smell the rose with pure senses and labeling rose, or you can remember you grandmother had a beautiful rose garden and she loved it and then prick your finger and remember the story of how she beat your dad for picking the roses to give to your mom who hated her and won't let roses in the house...

By then the rose should be called anger instead of rose. 

That is not an accurate story of my experience but from a simple thought I transversed multiple generations and the feelings associated were perfectly accurate.  I could feel all the complexities of my parents and grandparents in a few minutes. 

If I stayed in that state because I did realize what was happening I would feel not good in short order.  Even fully aware of what happened is not pleasant.  All off a simple random cliche idea of smelling a rose because Rob mentioned pool water. 

This is how consciousness and associated memory and then if no mindfulness, action, is transmitted through mind to mind irrespective of time and space. 

To the other question, my intent is that my great grandchildren understand what I just wrote. 

Here is a video that a friend just posted on FB

Great example of how mind travels 

I would point out that while there are new labels and specifics that are actually reductionist, this is a foundation of Tibetan theory on mind dating back 1000s of years.  

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