July 2015

Blog of Education
July 2015
Memory?

I was recently listening to a TED Talk about memory and the speaker stated we should consider our memory more like wikipedia than encyclopedia. If you’re not familiar with wikipedia, it is a community encyclopedia allowing users to submit revisions to the posted text. It has been cited for providing inaccurate information in the past and if you’re a high school or college student and try to use it as a resource, you will be taken less seriously. The focus of this TED Talk speaker’s argument was how others are able to confuse our memory by influencing us to remember what isn’t accurate. It is bad enough we already confuse ourselves into believing our memory to be true when it may not reflect what really happened. Psychologists call this manufacture of memory “confabulation.” Memory is important in a survival situation so we should understand it. We rely on our memory when we tap into our knowledge of how to survive in adverse conditions. There will not always be a supplement in front of us in case we forget or are uncertain. Memory, therefore, can make the difference between life and death.

Memory directly relates to our survivability in how we train and what we choose to experience. Consider how some details of our life we cannot forget. We have had plenty of time to rehearse them, have had enough exposure to them, contact with them, we’ve been able to create rhymes to help remember. We aren’t likely going to forget our first pet’s name or fail to identify what common ingredients are in our refrigerator. Other memory though, like that we use when we train for an emergency that may never occur, isn’t as rehearsed and we’re likely to forget it if we experience and practice it regularly. We need to constantly train and never let these skills or our knowledge get rusty. The difference between retaining information in long-term and short-term memory is how often you experience it. By experience, I am referring to reading, watching, listening, etc. Unless your memory is exceptional and photographic, chances are, you will not remember what you need to in an emergency after a single experience.

A danger to our memory is the possibility of outside influence. There is no shortage of aspiring outdoorsmen and women in the survival community who are more interested in celebrity and are more entertainment than information. They are more noise than signal if you know this reference. They may present good information but the editors and producers may cut or edit it in a manner that distorts reality or presents false information. Yet, we are drawn to entertainment because it is easy. We sit back and absorb what is put in front of us. The vast majority of the public would rather not work hard at the end of the day processing good information with little entertainment value in lieu of mindless or inaccurate mind entertainment. Exposure to bad information in this form can replace the good information, it can make edits in our encyclopedia turning it into a wikipedia, and ultimately lead to our demise. When we attempt to recall, we may recall something dangerous and potentially deadly.

What do we do to stem this then? The first step is to limit exposure. Don’t watch ridiculous shows or read accounts from unreliable sources. If you must watch a show, be forced to read something you know is untrue or attend a comical seminar like this, watch with a cynical eye and doubt what is presented until you look up good information and verify or dismiss what is said. Immediately follow up bad information with good information. Always finish on a good repetition. In Sayoc Kali, we burn not only physical repetitions but mental reps as well. Bad reps will get you killed, good reps will keep you alive. Finally, make sure you work out your mind. Don’t let it get rusty. Challenge yourself and don’t settle for easy answers. The true knowledge you will find is in asking questions and avoiding easy statements. Your memory is important so fill your brain with good information and exercise your mind to not forget what is important when you need it most.

-Kev

BTW, November 2015 will be the final BLOG OF EDUCATION. I am turning my attention to commissioned assignments and need more time to fulfill these obligations. I’ve enjoyed writing this monthly blog for almost two years and appreciate all the great E-mails and feedback about it. Thank you for your continued support!