Apparently There Is An Upside To Forgetting

PBS_BraincraftPublished: February 22, 2018Updated: February 24, 2018
Published: February 22, 2018Updated: February 24, 2018

It’s not often that we say this, but sometimes it seems that there are worse things to fear than death, and the act of forgetting sits somewhere on top of that list. Living your life with diminishing memories from day to day can feel worse than totally leaving this earth. Forgetfulness is a silent killer of spirit and it just gets worse with age, but where were we?

There appears to be a positive side to forgetting after all, but in order to understand it. We need to understand how memories are lost. So we know that our brain decides to store past experiences in the form of memories in our mind, but think of it as a flash drive. It can only store so much. After a while our brain decides that memory is running short and it’s time to do a bit of clean up. There are actually two theories that explain the way memories are selected for removal. One of them is the decay theory which suggests that the brain deletes, so to say, old memories to make room for new, ant the interference theory suggests that whenever we experience a thing that is of similar value with a past memory, the new one is stacked on top of the old one, erasing the old memory in the process.

In reality though, both of these theories are true. Our brain creates two proteins, Mushashi and Adducin, the first one breaking the bonds between synapses and stopping the flow of information between nerve cells and the latter repairing that bond. What this means is that we have a constant fight of these two in our brain and it is the sole reason some memories are lost in the process. The good side of forgetting comes with the fact that whenever we lose a memory, it leaves a lot open for a new one to be stored. So don’t fret too much and work hard on making memories that count!

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