Events

I read Funes the memorious, and thought* – what is an ‘event’? Some Wiki-diving reveals that philosophers are still divided over how to define an event.

What is an event? [To my lay brain, an ‘event’ is the temporal equivalent of a point in space**. You can see it (in your minds eye), assign co-ordinates (properties) to it, but “it” is infinitesimal.]

What is the extent of my memory? [I distinctly remember Scotland – 1989, I remember some vague stuff about Mini KG and nursery – 1987]

What is the granularity of my memory? [Definitely not points but some larger intervals of time – incidents, places, smells, sounds]

What is the capacity of human memory? [Landauer did a study that estimates it at a few hundred megabytes! A summary is here]

*Says Borges, “To think is to forget a difference, to generalize, to abstract. In the overly replete world of Funes, there was nothing but details, contiguous details.”

**I have not studied relativity and don’t understand spacetime. My thought process is firmly Euclidean.

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  1. October 8, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Very interesting, this! I’ve wondered about memory, too..becoz some things just seem to be so much more clearly etched than others..

    Its commonly held that memory can be “improved upon” by repeating the experience..hence, frequent reading helps us “commit things to memory”.

    But I also wonder why the memory of a one-time experience is crystal clear while that of a frequently read lesson is not..our brain seems to know which bits to pick out to store..selective memory, no?

    The capacity of human memory?? Thats something I’ve often wondered about myself..

    and I’m a tiny lil bit disappointed to learn the estimated figure..a few hundred megabytes..I kinda wish it’d been in the region of a few thousand..but that wud be pushing my luck 😀

    • October 8, 2009 at 11:11 am

      TUIB,

      “The capacity of human memory?? Thats something I’ve often wondered about myself..”
      Maybe you can design an experiment to find out! That link was from the 80’s, there must have been more stuff done after that.

      “But I also wonder why the memory of a one-time experience is crystal clear while that of a frequently read lesson is not..our brain seems to know which bits to pick out to store..selective memory, no?”
      I agree. I see it like a computer’s mem. architecture – short term, quick, volatile memory at one layer, and long term, slow, but durable memory at another layer. The good ol’ hippocampus gets to choose what to put where 😉

  2. October 8, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    “I have not studied relativity and don’t understand spacetime”

    — let us start on that Irodov problem solving and general physics studies, perhaps follow Resnick Halliday

    • October 8, 2009 at 12:58 pm

      Yessir, I would love to. Name the place and time. And I will need a refresher on calculus too!

      • madhuri
        October 8, 2009 at 4:31 pm

        Irodov was my favorite book in 12th std.

    • Nikhil Thatte
      October 18, 2009 at 3:04 am

      Mohit, unawoken –
      Read Brian Greene’s “Fabric of the Cosmos”. Nicest explanation of relativity and other modern physics theories I’ve come across.

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