Pax (funcrunch) wrote,

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The (non-)persistence of memory

One of my favorite movies is Memento. boyziggy was flipping channels the other night and found it on local TV, and though I knew it would be heavily censored and we had it on DVD already, I couldn't help being drawn in. The topic of brain disorders such as the anterograde amnesia portrayed in the film fascinates me. While reading through the extensive IMDb FAQ on the film (warning: many spoilers), I followed links to Wikipedia and read about real-life subjects with the condition.

One of the most severe and tragic cases is that of Clive Wearing, an English musicologist whose brain was destroyed by a rare complication of the herpes virus to the point where he had not only forgotten most of his past, but could not hold a current memory for more than a few seconds, literally a half-minute at most. I watched a documentary about him and his amazingly patient and articulate wife, which was uploaded (in ten-minute segments) to YouTube; Part 1 here. I'm watching them again with Ziggy now.

Stories like this really make me think about human mortality; how fragile we are, how all of our life's memories can be destroyed, how our very existence seems to hang by a thin, frayed thread. I keep hoping to have my own "awakening", to bring back the creative energy I once had as a teenager, to produce the books and songs and pictures inside me, to leave some kind of evidence or trace of my existence before I meet my own demise, untimely or not. I simply cannot continue to take my life and good health for granted.

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