Repressed memories

Lee Kent Hempfling lkh at
Tue Dec 17 06:30:05 EST 1996

Laurie Davison <ldavison at> enunciated:

>   I've been unsure as to whether to post this here or to an evolution 
>newsgroup, but I believe that this group may be able to at least 
>partially answer my question. 

But you may not like the response.

>   What is the neural mechanism by which traumatic memories (such as 
>childhood abuse, etc) are repressed? Since this has only been a 
>recognized phenomenon for a short time, it may be that we still don't 
>know, but I would appreciate your input nonetheless.

Regardless of whether the following will be understood as correct, it

First of all: understand that traumatic memories are NO different than
NON traumatic memories. If they are not supported they will fade. By
supported I mean this: Learning. If you hear of a concept for the
first time you will not , by the sheer nature of it being new to you,
be aware of it and it will, in many cases, fly in the face of that
which you do know. ALL major discoveries have met with this problem.
The reason is simple: memories alone do NOT reside in brain as a
digital memory does. Unless memories are supported by new memories
they will entropy into the 'past' and be lost. You're memory of a
traumatic experience 20 years ago is NOT the memory of that
experience. It is the memory of the memory of the memory of the memory
of that  Memory is cumulative. If not supported
there is no way to reverse the entropy of memory values.  There is NO
SUCH THING as repressed memories. The reason is also simple: To
repress would be to have to think of the memory and then apply some
other reference to it. By recalling the memory it is supported, but it
will not be recalled unless some other relative memory is connected to
it in the same time frame. If you were sexually abused as a child and
had no sexual contact since to age 30 and then finally did you might
experience an apprehension or a dismay over the issue but would not be
able to connect it without serious contemplation. 

>   My reason for asking is that while "stuffing" ones emotions during a 
>traumatic event in order to get through it intact seems like a survivable 
>trait that may well have evolved as far back as Australopithicus, 
>"unstuffing" them later during adulthood does *not* strike me as 
>survivable at all. 

Survival is a result of abilities and uses of them it is not a
causative action unless the survivability is connected to things that
are required for survival. Such as food. Humans are past that level of
external control with second level conscious processing that can and
often does override the need to eat (mother giving food to child,
captain of ship wreck parceling out rations...etc.) 

>I am wondering why the brain would chose to "remember" 
>something later that it had successfully "forgotten" at the time. 

The brain does not choose to do anything. It is a tool of its
contents. Garbage in is garbage out as long as the garbage has A:
either been initial (such as small child abused as infant sets
foundation of hatred and fear [results of the treatment but without
awareness of the treatment if not supported) or B: been supported. 

Refer to SCIENCE:  
ENHANCED Learning Rediscovered; Volume 274, Number 5294, Issue of 13
December 1996, pp. 1849-1850 (c)1996 by The American Association for
the Advancement of Science.

for a wonderful report on recent studies of infants and learning.

So the answer is the opposite of the folk-understanding of the
question: There is NO such thing as repressed memories. But there is
unsupported memories which can be 'tweaked' by skilled counselors to
blend to become things that DID NOT happen yet will appear to be real
to the patient who will have partial unsupported RESULTS in memory
that do not have another supporting foundation on which to lie.

Refer to the case of the late and wonderful ArchBishop Bernadine of
Chicago who was accused of sexual attacks on a man who after "thinking
it through' admitted there was no such thing in his memories.

It is an _extreme dangerous_ condition that counselors who know
absolutely NOTHING about the brain treat patients who are at the whim
of their experimentations. Lives have been ruined by this lack of
knowledge masquerading as expertise.


Lee Kent Hempfling...................|lkh at
chairman, ceo........................|
Neutronics Technologies Corporation..|West Midlands, UK; Arkansas, USA.

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