Friday, June 18, 2010

Quips and Quotations

Cold are the hands of time that creep along relentlessly, destroying slowly, but without pity, that which yesterday was young. Alone, our memories resist this disintegration and grow more lovely with the passing years.

That's hard to say with false teeth!

--The Palm Beach Story, screenplay by Preston Sturges.


  1. Do the memories grow more lovely or do we grow kind of dim?

  2. I think Kassie's onto something there. I think both things are true. I know I'm feeling a bit like a dim bulb lately. And, god(whom I don't believe in), please let me never need false teeth.

  3. only some memories grow more lovely. some grow more destructive. all are seen through the filter of our perception, thus all are false.
    and aren't i just a ray of sunshine? uh, nope!

  4. I talked about this topic in a paper on memory I wrote last year, Kirk.

    In his book 'Why Life Speeds up as We Get Older', Douwe Draiisma describes the pattern of memories that have been identified through quantitative experimentation and through an analysis of autobiographies written by certain individuals later in their lives.

    He writes about the 'reminiscence effect', the degree to which we tend to remember events from our earliest years before the age of four in snatches only and then over a lifetime, in our later years, from sixty years on we tend to have more recollections of our adolescence into the first twenty years of our lives.

    At the neuro-physiological level, there is some suggestion that we best remember these years because our ‘memory is at its peak in our twenties’. Along with this there is the ‘first time’ phenomenon, ‘the first kiss, the first the first menstrual period…the first holiday without parents.’

    The third feature Draiisma identifies relates to our attempts to find a way of creating a coherent shape to our identities whose first and strongest impressions occur between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five.

    It's an extraordinary process and a book well worth reading if you're interested in the nature of memory.

  5. @Kass--Both!

    @Kass and Limes--I don't know if either of you remember The Glass Menagerie quote of about a month ago, but in Tennesse Williams stage instructions, I think he actually calls for dim lighting to simulate memory, as the play's told from the point of view of a character looking back.

    @Limes--I think I might need a crown or two.

    @standing--Let me get my sunglasses...I agree that we're all prisoners of our perceptions. It's one reason why I want to preserve whatever critical thinking abilities I may have, as I trust them a little more than I trust my emotions. But that's another post for another day. By the way, while I'm on the subject of perception, see the play or movie Ten Angry Men if you get the chance. While it has little to do with memory, it does a good job of showing how different people can view the same event in different ways.

    @Elisabeth--From 60 on? I'm only 48 and I'm already beset by memories of my teens and twenties! That sounds like a very interesting book. I especially like the title, which sounds like a post I did last year around my birthday. Hold on a second...

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  7. @Elisabeth--I tried to paste a copy of post I did in November, but it wouldn't take for some reason. If you go here, you'll see what I have to say about time flying by:

    Again, that sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for recommending it.

  8. I think we prune our memories to make them fit into the worlds we create for ourselves.

  9. @Dreamfarm: That's very true.

    Still, the weeds always return.


In order to keep the hucksters, humbugs, scoundrels, psychos, morons, and last but not least, artificial intelligentsia at bay, I have decided to turn on comment moderation. On the plus side, I've gotten rid of the word verification.