Is it better to forget somethings or remember everything?

Memory is a very big thing. It’s what allows us to learn new things, it’s what allows us to remember people, it’s what allows us to prevent mistakes, it is even at the core of several other brain processes like imagination, discerning patterns, making decisions, etc. and so on.

But, as important as memory is, is it really important to remember everything we have learned, seen and experienced in life?

We always forget certain things like phone numbers, places, the layout of an area, people, sometimes our memories get all jumbled up and our brain adds or takes away details about somethings. It’s called misremembering or confabulation; confabulation is when you remember something despite evidence to the contrary. It’s not lying, because you have no intent of deceiving people, you genuinely just remember things differently.

So as it stands now (and as far as my knowledge on the matter goes), the brain does three things when it comes to memory:

It discards some things. I want to say it discards things that are irrelevant, but that is not always the case. For example, I am always forgetting important things like my bank account number or my passport number.

It remembers some things. Like I said before, I wish my brain would remember relevant things, but for some reason I can still remember every word of the “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” song from the Disney Mary Poppins movie. Is that relevant/ important to my life? No! But I can still remember it.

It changes certain memories. I don’t know if this happened to many other people, but I swear I remember some things differently. For example, I was watching an old movie that I hadn’t seen for a long time and I remembered one scene when the good guy is running away from the bad guys, he meets an old friend who has joined the bad guys but that friend helps them get away on a boat. But what actually happened was the good guy started talking to the friend, asking him to leave the bad guys, but the friend calls his gang and starts shooting, so the good guy hides and then gets away in a car. Talk about misremembering.

So the brain naturally forgets, remembers and changes memories, and I was thinking about this and I thought I wish I could remember everything exactly as it was. But then I thought, well, is that actually a good thing? A lot of bad things have happened to people that I am sure they would rather forget; there are some things that have happened to me which I would rather forget. So what is actually better?

For me personally, despite what I said earlier, I would rather remember everything both good and bad because then I would never have to worry about forgetting important things and I would learn a lot more. Plus I could probably take part in a quiz show after reading the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

But hey, that doesn’t mean I’m right, maybe remembering everything is actually a curse and being able to recall everything vividly causes more problems. I know that it is possible because people with photographic/eidetic memories exist but sometimes even they begin to lose their ability to retain all their memories.  Oh well, that’s just my take on the matter.

And that’s it for this post. I hope you liked it and I hope you have a good day ahead.

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