chapter  1
21 Pages

The Problem

The human mind encompasses an enonnous number of memories. Whether all memories that were ever established still persist is a matter for coffee debates; the fact remains that the usual adult possesses an amount of infonnation in memory that essentially defies measurement. Represented among these memories are those reflecting experiences that occurred at definite points in time. A chronicle of these memories would in one sense constitute the history of the individual. A chronicle implies an ordering of events that corresponds with true ordering. Major events in our lives, such as eighth grade graduation, high school graduation, marriage, and retirement, would be ordered properly because there is a necessary order to such events. But when we ask about memories that are less inevitably ordered, we begin to be less certain of the chronicle. Did your father lose his job before or after your second child was born? Did you become a member of the bowling team before or after you remodeled your kitchen? When we ask such questions, we begin to see that many events that are well remembered seem to have, at best, only a crude location in the chronicle of our experiences.