In one of my previous blog posts, I talked about how weird my brain perceives memories: the more “tangible” they are, the more I will miss them once they are gone.
It may seem normal enough. But, how I define “tangibility” is inconsistent.
I consider works of arts and entertainment -even the exclusively online ones- tangible as they are stored in containers (e.g. VHS, drives, etc) and therefore, losing my favourite works would be unimaginable to me. Yet, I consider my travelling memories intangible and losing them would not be a loss for me, even though I have photos and souvenirs.
Well, I just realised there is something else which makes it even weirder: my presence.
I am not present in my favourite arts and entertainment, as in I am not a part of their creation. I was not the performer, composer, writer, editor, designer, you name it. While they clearly affect me emotionally, I have no tangible attachments to any of those works.
Meanwhile, I am fully present in my travelling memories. I mean, they would not exist without me. I am them!
And yet, I don’t want to lose the former while I have no problem losing the latter. Considering how I have actual tangible attachments to my travelling memories, wouldn’t it make more sense to choose them over my favourite works?
I did wonder if emotional attachment is a factor. But, I ruled it out because I am emotionally attached to both my travelling memories and my favourite works.
While writing this, I just realise how I perceive memories shouldn’t have been a mystery in the first place.
My travelling memories are entirely stored in my brain; the photos and souvenirs are not its extensions, they are just reminders of the memories’ existence.
Once the memories are erased from my brain and the photos and souvenirs are lost, I won’t have any reasons to be sad. Why should I mourn things that I forget ever existed? While it sounds sad now, it won’t be once they are entirely forgotten.
My favourite works, on the other hand, are mainly stored in data storage and my brain is just a subpar extension of it. If all of the physical copies are lost, all I have is their shadowy presence inside my head. Once they are tangibly lost, I would not be able to fully immerse myself in them ever again.
Okay, the mystery is not entirely solved. If I won’t be sad about things I will have no recollection of, shouldn’t I be okay with losing my favourite works? Once they are lost, they are slowly but surely erased from my brain. Eventually, I will entirely forget them and there is one less reason to be glum.
I also don’t understand my fixation on the travelling memories when I also have many others to ponder over. I don’t think it has something to do with how positive they are, considering travelling can also be a pain in the ass with the constant physical and emotional exhaustions caused by long journeys, cultural shocks and ruined plans.
But, overall, even though there are still unanswered questions, the way I perceive my own memories is not as mysterious as I thought it was.
And you just wasted your time reading this.
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