So Liz has been watching some show about memory draining teenage alien mechs and it got me thinking. Which is about the only positive thing I’ve pulled away from that show, but I digress. In the show they show a guy having his memory shatter like glass because the machine needs his memories to run (they are so nutritious!).
He has a moment where he’s grabbing his head and shouting about how “Something should be there”. It got me thinking back to that period of my life when my Wisdom Teeth were removed.
I was apparently both awake and able to follow his commands during the procedure. When I needed to not bite through his fingers I managed to do so because he said “Don’t bite me.” We even had some sort of conversation (I’m sure I divulged state secrets).
However once I came to those moments were completely gone. My brain had not stored them into my LTM, they were (and are) lost to me forever. I don’t feel like they are gone though because they no longer exist in my mind. Think of it a bit like a computer that has had a certain program and the entire cache associated with that program wiped. The computer doesn’t know that the files are gone because it has no record that they ever existed.
Can you even know when you’ve lost something? Or is this just movie magic? I mean people can tell you you’ve forgot something and you can react to that knowledge, but can you know that your brain is degenerating? It seems to me that you probably can’t, my reasoning being that the device you are using to determine that your brain is degenerating is your brain.
So basically the line would read “The device you are using to determine if your device is broken is the device you are using to determine if your device is broken.” It’s mostly ridiculous and it seems flawed. If your brain is running at 100% capacity it can determine that it is running at 100% capacity, but if it is running at only 50% the best it can do is establish that it is running at 100% capacity of the 50% still functioning.
Yeah…this is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night. Or causes me to talk with myself for thirty minutes in traffic.
PS. About the only way I can figure you’d know is because another reference to the lost memory still exists. Which happens in SQL tables and other places. But in humans we replace information in memories on the fly so I don’t think this would be a plausible answer.