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Submission + - SPAM: Slashdot, why reminiscing is pleasant? 1

mapkinase writes: Why reminiscing is pleasant? Why remembering mundane or even unpleasant events of your personal distant past brings you pleasure. Example: I remember how I used to struggle and get frustrated at the terminal of our Soviet System/360 clone, yet bringing to memory those times now is very pleasant and more, captivating... What is the utility of reminiscing? Is it just a positive feedback loop to reward our memory exercises? Then what's the point of being able to remember things from 25 years ago if can't remember what my boss told me to do yesterday? Fellini tried to recapture the essence of it in Amarcord and failed: "sweet memories" of somebody else are just inedible crumbs from under the fridge for another person, just a sweet smell of decay for others. No matter how talented the actors how, how brilliant the cinematography is... Why whatever we did long time ago is so attractive to us that our brains make happy shrines from the memories of those times? Remembering days when I was young are pleasant, but I do not remember the feelings of being young per se, I do not feel the energy, the happiness of youth, the blind joy of blissful ignorance when I am reminiscing... It's just simple, trivial events from the past.

Why that old lady from Titanic smiles so happily looking at the green stone? Her younger self died many years ago in the grinding machine of life.

Why memories are sweet? Was our brain/director making all this years a colorful brilliant biopic of our life so we can enjoy watching it in our head at the dusk of our life? Why nostalgia? What is the reason for it to exist? There seem to be no use of it, just a soothing placebo for old folks, escape from the feeling of sliding down every increasing slope of the end. May be there is no why... May be it's just a side effect of our neural network: we repeat what is pleasant, ergo we remember what is pleasant. The image trained in our Hopfield model became better and better from time just as a consequence of simple physics of it. What surprises me the most is that it's not even truly the happiest moments of life. May be we do not have the same feelings about those because it's impossible to enter the same memory twice, strict uncertainty principles of quantum brain dynamics forbid it, and, boy, do we abuse our memories of those moments... We overuse our memories of the happiest days of the past by frequent remembering, so the peak of happy reminiscing is somewhere in between the most frequently remembered (and initially the most pleasant) moment of your life and the moments you will never remember: the rarely remembered medium-happy moments?

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