by Marinus Jan Marijs
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia): “In psychology, memory is the process in which information is encoded, stored, and retrieved. Encoding allows information that is from the outside world to reach our senses in the forms of chemical and physical stimuli. In this first stage we must change the information so that we may put the memory into the encoding process. Storage is the second memory stage or process. This entails that we maintain information over periods of time. Finally the third process is the retrieval of information that we have stored. We must locate it and return it to our consciousness. Some retrieval attempts may be effortless due to the type of information.
From an information processing perspective there are three main stages in the formation and retrieval of memory:
- Encoding or registration: receiving, processing and combining of received information
- Storage: creation of a permanent record of the encoded information
- Retrieval, recall or recognition: calling back the stored information in response to some cue for use in a process or activity
Henri Bergson’s various forms of memory:
Bergson distinguishes two different forms of memory. On the one hand memories concerning habitude, replaying and repeating past action, not strictly recognized as representing the past, but utilizing it for the purpose of present action. This kind of memory is automatic, inscribed within the body, and serving a utilitarian purpose. Bergson takes as an example the learning of a verse by rote: Recitation tending toward non-reflective and mechanical repetition. The duration of the habitual recitation tends toward the regular and one may compare this kind of memory to a practical knowledge or habit. “It is habitude clarified by memory, more than memory itself strictly speaking.” Pure memory, on the other hand, registers the past in the form of “image-remembrance”, representing the past, recognized as such. It is of a contemplative and fundamentally spiritual kind, and it is free. This is true memory. Bergson takes as his example the remembrance of the lesson of learning the same verse, a dated fact that cannot be recreated. Pure memory or remembrance permits the acknowledgment that the lesson has been learned in the past, cannot be repeated, and is not internal to the body.” (Wikipedia)
Ian Stevenson: ”was a psychiatrist who worked for the University of Virginia School of Medicine for 50 years. He was Chair of the Department of Psychiatry from 1957 to 1967, the Carlson Professor of Psychiatry from 1967 to 2001, and a Research Professor of Psychiatry from 2002 until his death. He was also the founder and Director of the University of Virginia’s Division of Perceptual Studies investigating parapsychological phenomena such as reincarnation, near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, after-death communications, deathbed visions, altered states of consciousness and psi. He became internationally recognized for his research into reincarnation by discovering evidence suggesting that memories and physical injuries can be transferred from one lifetime to another. He travelled extensively over a period of 40 years, investigating 3,000 cases of children around the world who recalled having past lives. His meticulous research presented evidence that such children had unusual abilities, illnesses, phobias and philias which could not be explained by the environment or heredity”.
Rupert Sheldrake: ”The main influence on my idea of an influence through time—the morphic resonance idea—in fact came through Henri Bergson in his book Matter and Memory, where he argues that memory is not stored in a material form in the brain. I realized that Bergson’s ideas on memory, which were to me completely new and incredibly exciting, could be generalized, and it was really through reflecting on Bergson’s thought that I came to this idea”.
Parapsychology: John Beloff “In the existence of mind”, and in:” Is normal memory a “paranormal” phenomenon? (Theoria to Theory 14,145-61) questions whether memory is a physical phenomenon.
“Akasha chronicles: the akashic records (from akasha, the Sanskrit word for ‘sky’ ‘space’ or ‘aether‘) are a compendium of mystical knowledge supposedly encoded in a non-physical plane of existence The akashic records – akasha being a Sanskrit word meaning “sky”, “space” or “aether” – are described as containing all knowledge of human experience and all experiences as well as the history of the cosmos encoded or written in the very aether or fabric of all existence. The records or The Book of Life in the Bible (Psalm 69:28, Philippians 4:3, Revelation 3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 20:12, 20:15 and Revelation 21:27) are described as being in a non-physical plane described as the “Mind of God”. (Wikipedia)
Timothy Conway, Ph.D. : “The utter inability of neuroscientists to satisfactorily account for the multi-faceted phenomenon of memory, which continues to be quite mysterious in important aspects of both storage and retrieval, for both short-term “working” memory and long-term memory. (For instance, despite recent findings that regions of the bilateral parahippocampal cortex and pre-frontal cortex are involved in encoding sensations, experiences and ideas into lasting memory, no one “knows yet what prompts the greater mental activity that seems to cement something in memory. We don’t know the source of those small differences in neural activity.” Robert Lee Hotz, “Watching the Mind at Work,” Science File section, Los Angeles Times, Thursday, Oct. 1, 1998, p. B2.
If we take into “…account the brain’s huge number of neurons (a hundred billion or so), and the power of experience to differentially alter the strengths of connections between them, and to promote the formation of functional groups or constellations of neurons throughout the brain——groups whose interactions serve to categorize experience.”……. Then the storage of memories in the brain seems a logical conclusion. But Stevenson’s research and the here above mentioned philosophical points of view indicate that at least a part of what we call memory has a non-neurological, non-physical character. The concept of a non-physical memory is highly relevant for the questions relating to life after death.