I have no idea if this will make any sense or be at all affecting out of context, but this is an excerpt from a short play by Austin Bunn. It really nailed me.
The surgeon, Wilder Penfield, operated on 1,000 epileptics to stop their seizures. He opened their heads like a can and lifted off the skulls. Then he removed parts of their brains on the fritz. But while he was at it,
he decided to run electrical currents into different parts of their brains. Just to see what would happen. The patients were conscious the entire time. And the line between what they experienced and what they made up began to blur.
One man who was not a musician, had the sensation of playing in a concert orchestra.
A childless woman remembered the sound of a baby crying.
A man who had never left the country remembered a conversation in a foreign language.
One thing Penfield proved: Memory is homeless. It’s stored everywhere, all over the brain, like a giant hive. Each with its own cells of specific memories. The second? That we’re all fairly good liars, psycho-chemically. When the patients were asked later to identify these memories, only 35 of 1000 could. Only 35 people could say what they’d seen, heard, felt on Penfield’s surgical table was an experience they’d actually had. They other 935 looked Penfield blankly, fingering their sutures.
Who knows what we’re holding onto.
Who knows how much any of it is ours.