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By Ines Brault October 20, 2017

The Entropy of Memory

Illustrated by Johanna Valeria Gamarra Torres

I notice entropy in memory.

Every moment of our life will become a memory; one moment you are experiencing something, and the next moment before you even realize it, it’s gone and you are experiencing something new.

The scene that you were living two minutes ago was united, and it was ordered. Like a set in a play, all the elements that constituted the scene were in place; they were all part of that lived moment.

Now, two minutes later, everything has changed, a new element brought in: the entropy of memory. There are so many possible ways of remembering a moment, and so many possible factors involved in how we remember, including how we felt, and still feel, about the experience.

There are also far more moments of your life in your memory than you can access, than you can consciously remember. And when you do remember an experience, it is not always clear that it actually happened exactly that way.

Can you really tell whether your memory is accurate or whether in passing into your mind your brain has processed and mixed the memory with imagination, or re-interpreted parts of the scene?

Imagine in a place, some strangers are all waiting for the same thing. In a strange way, they are all united, and they all have a place in space. For a brief moment, the level of entropy is low. At the very next moment, the metro appears. Every mind becomes distracted by the moving object, and every thought is interrupted. All the sudden, a hidden mechanism opens a door, people are coming out of the train, and they are invading the original scene of the united strangers. The invaders are all walking in different directions, bumping into one another and generating noises. The level of entropy increases higher and higher. The original strangers are then separated, they are disunited, and they will all end up in different spaces.

If we take the memory of this moment in every brain of every stranger who was present, the scene that was a whole, that was singular, will now become plural and completely different. The scene has multiplied and every experience will be different from one stranger to another. The scene was one, it happened, but every being experiences the world differently, and the same scene becomes disordered by the different experiences of the beings present in the original scene.

A memory also loses its place in time when it passes through our brain; what was chronological now becomes confused and mix with every other memory that resides in our brain. The scenes that we experience are clear while were are experiencing them, but as a memory these scenes become disordered; they lose their place in space and time and become vague. The level of entropy is high in our memories.

About the author

Ines is a first year Liberal Arts student at Dawson.

About the illustrator

Johanna Valeria Gamarra Torres is a first year Illustration student at Dawson College. You can view more of her work through the following link: https://www.instagram.com/lovdelucce/.


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