The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Don't Remember Colors? Want to Know Why?

I had a chance to talk to a neurologist I know recently. I asked her what twist or turn was missing from my brain that made it difficult, if not impossible, for me to remember colors encountered in daily life. I have no problem discerning colors. I can tell my reds from blues from greens and so on. I know what colors things are like stop signs, the sky, grass, trees, my wife's eyes, all of that. But, so help me, ask me what colors my kid was wearing today or what the dominant color of the front cover of the book I'm reading is and ... impossilbe. I draw a complete blank. I assumed it was some sort of deficiency or problem I've always had and is getting worse in recent years.

My neurologist (my sister-in-law actually) smiled and shook her head. My assumption was completely wrong. There is nothing wrong with your brain, she said (yes, go ahead and sigh with relief). You do not have the beginnings of altzheimers (I hadn't even thought of that ... and I'm glad). All those who think their memories stink for one reason or another are in most cases perfectly healthy. Those who firmly believe their memories are perfect are the ones frequently heading down the altzheimer trail.

Here it is. Here comes the answer.

She told me I simply do not invest my energy into remembering those colors. They are not important to me. They do not have any emotional impact upon my life. Therefore, I do not remember them. That's it. That's the answer, pure and simple.

That makes me pause. It makes me think about choices in life. I do not remember those colors because I choose not to on some level. My life is so busy, so full of facts, so full of choices to make, things to do, people to see, that I have chosen not to remember those colors.

What else might come down to a matter of choice? If I choose to invest the energy and the emotion into color memory, could I have Technicolor memories that look like the Land of Oz when Dorothy arrives? What else might be a matter of choice? What purposes might we accomplish, what great feats of justice and kindness might we do if we so choose? Where might we go? Who might we free? What courses of history bend ... if we so choose? It is worth a lot of energy in consideration, a lot of emotional energy in pursuit. There's a world of suffering out there. How might we change it? What colors could be paint the future? What colors will future generations use to portray us based on what we choose today?

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