Oct 23, 2006

phantoms in the brain

A voice piped up a casual 'hi radhika' a few days ago. I was on the phone and when I turned I saw this person, a very familiar face, but I just could not place him. I drew a blank as to where I had met him, what his name was, whether I knew him well.. Complete blank.

I pretended I was on a busy call, gesticulated I'll talk to him later and asked for his email id. A variation of the old and dumb, 'how do you spell your name' ploy.

I just finished reading 'Phantoms in the brain' and I was wondering what this signifies. Maybe I saw him very often so the visual reinforcement was there, but there was no supporting data - perhaps I didnt know anything about him to make associations and thats why I failed to 'remember' him.

What an amazing book though. It left me with a feeling of bereftness. It was almost like I lost my sense of identity. If I were to suffer a stroke in some significant part of the brain, my personality could undergo such a change I would no longer be 'me'. What is me today, perhaps a serendipitous confluence of wiring, could change in a fleeting moment. Made me want to rush out and buy a helmet.

October 23, 2006