Being inside during these days of cold, snow, and ice gave me incentive to prowl around my bookcases and pull out some candidates for company between bowl games and finally the return of Downtown Abbey. One of my picks was a book by the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio on how the brain constructs the mind and the meaning of consciousness. I think I may be looking for reasons why I cannot seem to make a positive construct of winter!
In “Self Comes to Mind,” Damasio discusses the processes of memory and whether our brains recall sensory input like hard copy or whether it is encoded or “digitized” and the process and location of this mapping.
There is no winter long enough for me to understand this very complex study, but I do know that in practice the construction and de-construction of memories can have profound effects on people. A collection of images put together about a person, even ourselves, can result in an unhealed wound of spirit. Examining the images with openness in a therapeutic setting can make possible new understanding, affirmation or change of what we have thought, and even forgiveness. The memory map we have constructed from hard copy images may be incomplete or too simplistic. Understanding this possibility may allow us, like the butler in Downton Abbey, to choose to go forward on a new track.
Changing your mind about something , even just winter, takes some work. And maybe that is part of the beauty of winter—occasion to do it.