Memory Month Day 25: Trouble with Locks

Today was a little hectic, but I managed to get out of it alive, which is pretty great 😀

Via Wikipedia

I started by realizing that the amazing system our brain has for making some actions automatic can sometimes lead to unwanted side effects. When I say “unwanted”, I mean unwanted from my perspective, of course. But maybe you’re a little confused about what I just said. Our brain is capable on putting some actions into “automatic” mode, at least if you perform them enough times. This means that once these actions can take place automatically, you don’t need to use as much conscious effort to perform them…you just…do them. An example of this is when learning to drive a car. At first, you have to pay attention to every single step. However, after enough practice, all the necessary actions just flow one after the other, without you being consciously aware of every single one of them.

This is a great system, because it makes us be much faster than we normally would be. Think about it: when your mind simply goes on “auto-pilot”, it performs things fast and accurately. This is even more important for life threatening situations. Let’s say you’re driving, and unexpectedly, the car in front of you decides to stop. If you had to actively think to yourself “now I have to move my foot over the brake and push it”, you would probably be unable to stop your car in time. However, you don’t think consciously to do it, you just do it. Like a reflex.

Again, that’s an amazing implementation! However, it comes with little problems, and I’ve figured one out today. Because you don’t consciously think of automatic actions, that means that you may not even realize you’ve done them. And this is exactly what happened to me in regards to locking the door. As I was sitting on the bus, admiring the melting snow outside, it suddenly occurred to me that I may not have locked the door. I started to worry for a few moments, but then I remembered that after I left the apartment,  I stopped in front of the elevator, in order to put my keys in my bag. This meant that I had indeed taken out my keys, used them, and then placed them in their spot.

The funny thing is that I couldn’t remember the actual act of turning the key in the lock. That information was erased from my mind completely. However, the things I did before and after were still there, filling in the missing details.

That’s one of the reasons I find memory so amazing (apart from the fact that it helps us be who we are). Even when you can’t remember one particular thing, you can search in the depths of your mind for information that is connected to whatever you want to know. You might not always find it, but when you do, it’s the best feeling in the world, isn’t it?

That’s about it for today! Let me know if you have similar issues to the one I had with locking the door! It would be interesting to hear them 🙂



  • Confused about what’s going on? Click here!
  • For the post that started this challenge, click here.
  • For yesterday’s entry, click here.



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