The prequel to Total Recall.
The brain’s an interesting thing. It’s pretty much at the center of our being, isn’t it? Mighty helpful if you ask me. And it can store so many things too! Estimations regarding the computer equivalent of the human brain’s storage capacity range from one terabyte to over two petabytes. You don’t need me to tell you that’s a whole lot of Blu-ray-quality movies! That being said though, I doubt you’ll be able to remember all the fine details of even your most recently viewed movie.
And that’s exactly the thing. The brain is capable of remembering everything, it just doesn’t do it. And when it does, you’re likely to have trouble pulling every tiny detail from memory. So there’s two problems at play here, storing and retrieving.
Through frequent repetition, we can trick the brain into remembering even the most boring information out there. You wouldn’t have passed all those tests in school otherwise, right? But there’s a lot of things you can’t just repeat on command. Have a once-in-a-lifetime experience? Hope you paid attention, the vague memory you built is the best you’ll get! This can also be trained of course, but very few people achieve actual photographic memory, the ability to store a memory with such accurate detail, it might as well be continuing to live in your head.
Recall’s a whole other beast to tame though. Sure, your short term memory’s relatively easy to recall things from. But the more long-term a memory gets, the harder it is to remember exactly what it was about again. (Again, refer to the non-basic stuff you learnt in school!) Either the memory itself is fading, or it’s just moving out of reach. Prevent this by recalling it occasionally, but of course you can’t do that for every single thing in your head.
Fascinating stuff, and it’s only one of the many things the brain’s “good” at!