Filming one second every day: Cesar Kuriyama at TED2012
If anyone ever said to me that physical pain would stop you from being able to write something funny, I would have laughed.
“Haha!” I would say confidently, “Are you kidding? I live in Canada, where we wrestle moose and hunt bear with a can opener.”
But I would be wrong. Dreadfully wrong. Having sprained my foot during the holiday, and brilliantly respraining it while late to a meeting, I had learned the definition of replacing one’s foot with a bruised cantaloupe. (Followed by hurting the other foot via overcompensation) It’s been an adventure, I’ve learned that I can utilize logic, work daily, even maintain deep concentration for various strenuous tasks like walking and getting a glass of water. Sitting still long enough to contemplate a TED talk on the other hand, was painful futility.
On the other hand I’ve also managed to learn, is that someone can write when stoned on enough painkillers to make an elephant dance Gangnam style. This is also a lie, I spent the past week sleeping.
This week’s TED Talk is… a bit of mystery. I stumbled across a news item about the 1sec App, now available on the iPhone and the idea intrigued me.
Much to my surprise, I seem to be completely unable to find the TED Talk. (Although Kuriyama is pictured on stage at TED)
You can find the BLOG link here: http://blog.ted.com/2012/03/02/filming-one-second-every-day-cesar-kuriyama-at-ted2012/
And this brings up to me several questions. For one, this is a very neat idea that I’d like to try out. Not forever, not necessarily for an extended period time at all, yet somehow there was something about it that I just wanted to ‘try it’.
And that brings us to this:
Five things Filming One Second Every Day made me realize
1) Humans are forgetful
We forget things. We forget all the unimportant details that might clog up brain, and sometimes we forget the important things because they’re clogging up the brain as well. Heck, sometimes we just forget random crap because we drank too much.
According to Scientific American, the answer is more confusing than anything else. The split between short term memory (accurate) versus the long term memory (fuzzy) seems to be related. Link: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-do-we-forget-things
(Personally I think it must be a link between the two. If our consciousness is conceptualized as an empty stage, short term memory would be props on stage and long term memory are props that are brought on by crew members who try do it as sneakily as possible.
Where the actors? They would be the active senses / visualizations that is going on in the mind. Staring at a familiar picture, a new song playing in the background, a random odor in the nose, physical limitations, active thoughts at the time, all gum up the works of which props (memories) are triggered or used in identification/classification/survival reflexes.
I should point out that nothing is forgotten, but it definitely needs to be first observed and crew members need to grab the right props. Of course, I’m probably wrong so let’s keep searching.)
According to Smartplanet.com, our brain forgets things due to an overload of information versus priority. Where survival was once the primary condition for memory, we are now capable of remembering much more information instead of where the nearest waterhole is. Read more here: http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/smart-takes/why-do-we-forget-things-to-survive-science-says/20605
2) Humans are incredibly self centered machines of self centeredness
I think as time passes, this expectation of self centeredness is taken in as a natural piece of our evolution. Not just that we have the basics to be self centered, but this, much like our fight/flee response, is a genetic response and not necessarily one that is willed into existence.
We can pretend to flight, we can seek fighting and likewise we can seek to become self centered. However, there can also be the reverse, where we seek to not be self centered but the fancy pants chemicals in our brain kick in and we start doing duck faces into cameras.
My personal favorite proof, however, was recently referred to in a Cracked.com article. Link: http://www.cracked.com/article_20214_5-so-called-signs-genius-that-any-idiot-can-learn.html (see the part about Sherlock Holmes)
This is in reference to the Forer effect as per Bertram Forer. This feat is similar to those television shows where people talk to ghosts, psychics talk about people and various selling / seduction skills.
So what is this magic trick? The Forer effect is that when you talk about the person in broad sweeping terms, that the person will be more willing to accept it and they themselves will fill in any blanks. The reason being is that you’re talking about THEM.
Forer effect wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forer_effect
That contains more evidence of vanity and self centeredness than anything in the universe. The internet was once in danger of crashing due to kitten / baby pictures, but today it is due to self portraits and our incessant need to prove we are as smart / pretty / right as we think we are.
3) We care about our memories
Memories have two paradigms that affect us immediately. The first is that we ‘own’ our memories, that once we have a thought or experience, that it is personally ours. The second is that memories is a part of our being, they helped us define ourselves.
In essence, live situation A, remember situation A, act in behavior B which is a response to situation A.
Interestingly enough, there is a mental practice that exists which is about changing our behavior B. It is based around the concept that we are stuck in a vicious cycle of behavior, a way to alter it is to alter our base memory about it. More specifically, it’s about thinking about events and quite literally, remembering them differently.
I do not know any more about this as I learned the above through a conversation with a friend. (I also have reason to believe the method is copyrighted so I digress here)
Interesting barely related factoid: Bruce Willis almost sued Apple as he was NOT allowed to leave iTunes collection to his daughters. Link: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/technology/2012/09/bruce-willis-might-be-suing-apple
I bring this up because what we consider ‘memories’ from our lifetime also appear in the form of keepsakes. Small items that trigger memory that we effectively ‘care for’. If all of our fondest items are digital downloads and software related items, none of these keepsakes will be able to be handed down.
And I wanted to pass on my World of Warcraft account.
Another reason we love memories is because memories generate stories, which relates us to the next section.
4) Humans still follow the scientific method
First off, I’ve found a remarkable study about Knowledge and Memory on cogprints.org. It is quite long (probably 100 pages) and is very well written.
To summarize, it is about memory being a story based template which is often construed with like stories (too many similar events, making things forgettable), no reflection (not having a story tell about it makes it forgettable), and purposeful disdain (no talking about it, lessens the memory). Significantly, however, is that our story telling has a purpose, not only in remembering but in use of our day to day lives either it being a form of catharsis, teaching a lesson or assistance in getting what you want.
The link can be found here: http://cogprints.org/636/1/KnowledgeMemory_SchankAbelson_d.html
Personally, I’m not a big fan of story telling being the core of memory processing. For one, imagery/odor/sound is omitted due to the natural limitations of recitation and two, the time it takes to formulate a story is so far greater than the time to actually live an event that if we had to tell stories in order to remember things we wouldn’t remember very much at all.
However, it does make a great method to remember.
When I was a child, I had found a book by the famous new age mentalist Edgar Cayce about Improving Memory. It was about the use of radical imagery to remember routine events. Effectively, we create a wild and crazy story, we remember our grocery list better.
Wow, that was a tangent.
Back to the scientific method:
Scientific method can be described as follows:
Define a question, gather observations, form hypothesis, test it, analyze data and draw conclusions for future hypothesis.
Stove looks hot, I can touch it, if I touch it I’ll burn myself, touch stove and do NOT burn myself, the stove is actually turned off. The little orange light on the stove represents nothing related to it being hot.
Our memories become enacted in a very similar fashion, in the sense that we remember things to further future predictions.
5) Our self reflection is the greatest way to bring about change
And so it brings it back full circle to where we started. After I read the article about One Second Everyday, I downloaded the app and have been using it for the past week. It’s quite amusing. Not only do I plan my day a little bit more, sometimes thinking about ‘when/where’ I should film my one second, but it does make me reflect more often upon what was happening during those days that I would not have.
The idea is a good one, for the end result is a digital product that we CAN share with our children and one that they will be able to absorb in a limited amount of time.
If there is something that we can do to best help our own situation, it is to remember strongly our past and to use it for the future.
Try to remember to share,