Friday, May 1, 2015

Chapter 1: Childhood Memories or the Lack thereof

"He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it."
Douglas Adams. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

“This is one of the distinguishing marks of history as an academic discipline - the better you know a particular historical period, the harder it becomes to explain why things happened one way and not another.”

“Neoteny, one of my favorite words, means the retention of childlike attributions in adulthood. Childlike attributes include learning, idealism, experimentation, wonder, and creativity. In our rapidly changing world, not only do we need to continue to behave more like children - we can teach our children to retain those attributes that will allow them to be the world-changing, innovative adults who will help us reinvent the future.”
Joi Ito. The Internet, Innovation, and Learning.

The Autobiography of Ben and Bob
Chapter 1: Childhood Memories or the Lack thereof

My first clear memories are from, roughly, age nine or ten. I have a handful of memories from earlier years, but they all seem like dreams. I have a clear picture in my head of being home sick one day having missed school, standing next to my bed while my mother put clothes on me. Or is that some sort of Norman Rockwell projection?
I remember playing with some cousins at a wedding on a balmy summer evening. I must have been six or seven. There is a sense of contentment in the air and a sense of peace - one that I have rarely experienced since. Or is that a memory I “gained” while staring at pictures like this one?

But that's about it. Other than that, nothing. No memories of primary school teachers that I may have secretly coveted. No memories of kids next door that I may have played hide and seek with. I'm sure those things happened to me as a child. I just don't remember them. It's almost like a light switch went on at roughly age ten and I came online. Everything after that age is clear in my memory. Pretty much nothing remains from the first ten years, though.

As an adolescent, I used to come up with fantastic back stories to explain this fact to myself: Perhaps I’m an alien from another planet. My memory was “cleaned” as part of my interstellar mission to Earth. Perhaps I was adopted by my parents (or maybe even abducted!) and I’m repressing the horrific memories.

As an adult, I’m convinced that my predicament could only have one of two causes: either an extremely traumatic childhood that I am blocking out, or an extremely boring childhood with no interesting incidents. I tend to think it was the latter, but secretly continue to hope for the former.

PS: At some point, I was convinced of the abduction/adoption theory. This was right around the time that I noticed my zipper was open in the first picture above. Hmmm... I wonder if they did that intentionally.

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