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Acta poética

versión On-line ISSN 2448-735Xversión impresa ISSN 0185-3082


CEREIJIDO, Marcelino. Biología de la memoria. Acta poét [online]. 2006, vol.27, n.2, pp.15-41. ISSN 2448-735X.

This chapter summarizes what Biology has to say about memory. Science considers that reality is not a collection of things, but of processes. Everything we see, from a cloud to a galaxy is process, regardless of whether the first is ephemeral, and the second lasts millions and millions of years. In this sense, memory depends on transient events that we attribute to mental processes, and cerebral structures whose present form is the result of thousands of millions years of evolution, but that nevertheless are processes, only that have adopted spatial configurations which are stable, as they can last all our life, and that are repeated in every human as well as in other biological species. We ignore how information is memorized in eternal present, and what do we do to attribute a given event to the past or to the future. It is suspected that the reservoir of information can be stored in the water contained within neurons. Only a tiny amount of what memory contains is or can be made conscious. Conscience has appeared in the last 50-100 thousand years of human history, which is only 1/40.000 of the existence of life on Earth. Unconscious memory operates with an unknown dynamics, but we know that it can become conscious whenever "it decides so", as if ruled by an autonomous wish. On the contrary, the conscious domain does not have the power to access every part of unconscious memory that we may wish. One of the most formidable problems posed by the understanding of memory, is that we would have to explain in a rational (conscious) manner a series of processes which are mainly unconscious, that do not seem to be ruled by classical logic, and where feelings and emotions seem to play a paramount role.

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