Emotional Bridging

According to Richard, who is reliable on such points of fact, “Emotional Bridging” is the term used to describe the phenomenon where we experience a really strong memory trigger in, for example, a piece of sound. One of mine is the sound of Geoff Robinson’s voice – as well as the old jingle for his “Morning Report” show on Radio New Zealand’s National Radio programme. Call me an old fogie, but that new jingle simply doesn’t cut the mustard. While we’re on the subject of National Radio, do you also think that the news reader Nicola Wright has the most extraordinary voice?

The smell of thyme is another trigger for me, and pine needles, and dieseled roads… All smells from childhood summers in Central Otago. There is so much to celebrate about my life as a New Zealander that it’s almost a crime to allow any feelings other than joy and contentment to gain any traction at all. I strongly believe that our land itself is live-giving. I just have to stop and look out the window and my spirits are lifted.

Tim and I and his sister Jess went to see “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” at the cinema on Friday night. I’m going to refrain from making this into a film-review journal. There are people a lot better qualified than me writing reviews for the web, so I’ll leave that to the experts. I just thought I’d mention that the character Arthur had the same phone as me. Hopefully no-one will be ringing mine and informing me that this planet is designated for descruction to make room for an intergalactic hyperspace highway. We laughed a lot, but I think most of the audience was expecting a sci-fi action film and failed to notice that everything was ironic.

“There’s more time than you think”. There’s one day to go before school begins again. I’ve been at home preparing for parts of the last couple of days. I can’t say I’m excited about getting back to work, but I still feel I love my job.

I’ve definitely got a number of my personal business up to date this holiday, and I’ve had a good rest, so I’m certainly going to go back to the second term refreshed and motivated. Activating this website again has been a wonderful experience for me. I think things are well in my world.

All well with you?

3 thoughts on “Emotional Bridging

  1. deanboy says:

    You should definitely see “What the Bleep do we Know?” … one of the concepts relating to memory addresses the fact that our brains can’t tell the difference between a memory and reality because the same areas of your brain are active for both. So a smell or a song triggering a memory is the same as the real experience for us. So theoretically the reverse action should be just as possible. Create the memory first and see it manifest physically. It’s blown me away.
    And i think your non-NZ friends could use some representation in the gallery as well, …. eh? =)
    ~dean

  2. updoc says:

    Proust touched on this topic rather delightfully with his epic ‘In Search of Lost Time’ (I have no time for the appallingly liberal translation ‘In rememberance of things past’. The taste of the madeleines tea cakes triggered in him childhood memories not to mention the urge to use up several million acres of rainforest to write about it. Maybe it was supposed to be an ironic title! But I have a soft spot for that book as I blatantly used the title for my thesis: A la recherche de la France perdue. A catchy title can make up for a good deal of inadequacies! There is a particular perfume that reminds me of one of my primary school teachers. I still have no idea what that perfume is and I’m slightly bemused as to why I am reminded of that particular teacher, especially given that I can’t even recall her name. Then I am reminded of cut grass and cancelled afternoon classes, with boys and girls grass fights which the boys invariably won. Are these simply nostalgic yearnings for our lost youth? Do we have an equal amount of negatively charged memories? Or are they all repressed? As a bit of a muso buff, I love the fact that songs can connect you back to specific times and locations. I do remember for quite some time being unable to tolerate the REM song Losing my religion. I was sixteen and spent the summer in Tahiti. I remember going to a neighbour’s birthday party and being surrounded by girls asking for a dance but unfortunately chose the inopportune moment to relent to their wishes just as Losing My Religion started up. It was too late to bid a hasty retreat and lacking the eccentric dancing abilities of Michael Stipe, you’ve never seen a dance floor clear more quickly! (I challenge the most accomplished dancer to pull that song off though! What the hell was that DJ thinking? I still claim it was a sinister plot to undermine me. Conspiracy theories are that much more palatable for the ego.) But for that deeply scarring memory there are infinitely more happy memories. Songs can already provoke so many emotions in us but I love the fact that we all form unique attachments to particular songs.

    Haven’t seen Hitchiker’s yet but it is obviously well publicised here in London. I remember the TV series and saw some clips of it on TV the other day. The entire budget probably amounted to a heady 8 pounds and free access to a whole primary school’s papier mache works. You kept thinking that the President’s twin head would fall off at any given moment, which no doubt was why they went for the ingenious flip-top head in the film. I’m always sceptical of Hollywood’s attempts to pull off British humour which is not to say that it’s never been done. High Fidelity springs to mind. It’ll definitely be worth a look even though cinema prices are appallingly expensive over here, which I guess is in tune with everything else. Anyway I am about to indulge myself in one of my favourite English activities, which has the added advantage of being inexpensive. I’m off to buy a Sunday paper and pore over it for the next few hours. It’s actually a nice day outside so I might even read it outside. What a privilege. Enjoy being back at school Chris. I think the pupils are a little old for grass fights but I’m sure snowball fights are an entirely different matter. Like you say, you only have to look outside to feel rejuvenated.

  3. jase_nz says:

    Maybe I am showing my age, but I have never seen an episode of the Hitchhikers Guide, obviously I have heard of it as I do like to think of myself as somewhat cultured, But as a male in his twenties it is just not something that appeals to me.
    I totally understand what you are saying about Emotional Bridging, although it seems to me my whole like is a memory of songs. Most of my memories can be linked to songs I started reading your blog I started to think about my memories, and lots of songs popped into my head. For example There are many songs that remind me of my first year studying. When I hear them I often reminisce about friends that I know will have the same feelings about the song as me. I think my life just goes through stages of music. Like today my first day at my new job I will forever link with Jack Johnsons Sitting, Waiting, Wishing. Because I played it at work all day. I guess I am always listening to music because it is such a big part of my life, and I guess that this is why I have so many memories that are linked to music. So I totally understand where you are coming from, God I love memories…

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