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There are now 7 comments... what are your thoughts?
    • Caveat: I had maybe a little too much scotch before seeing this, and I may regret answering off the top of my head tomorrow. That said…

      I know I read the first bits of that comic a while ago, but haven’t read it for some time. Maybe I’ll go back and catch up!

      As for the lingo of that particular page, I’m not sure it’s quite right. IIRC, “Death imprinting” was a quasi-Freudian thing back in the day, but (1) Freudian, and (2) it was about seeing things that were so overwhelmingly horrific that they couldn’t possibly be forgotten, like things witnessed by survivors of Hiroshima and the Nazi Holocaust.

      That’s not to discredit the idea. PTSD is a real thing. There are experiences so unbelievably traumatic that the brain just cannot deal with them. Panic can come seemingly out of nowhere. Awareness to real dangers that the rest of us just don’t see isn’t imaginary. Stimuli the rest of us ignore can trigger survival instincts and associated painful memories in others.

      That comic’s on to something in that, in a highly stressful situation, time can seem to slow down — we’re taking in much more data per second, so it seems like more seconds are passing — and we may focus on the oddest things, like someone’s jewelry. (I think I might have scripted something about this for a later page, or may have already covered it, I forget.)

      Still. To say that we see and remember every little detail during a traumatic near-death experience? That’s just not accurate for most people.

      That comic’s also on to something where he says his brain was in overdrive looking for a way out. That’s considered a likely explanation for the “my whole life flashed before my eyes” experience — the brain is frantically searching for an experience, any experience, that might contain a solution to the immediate problem of survival.

      But that’s different from focusing on and permanently storing all the details of the event. Most of the time, that’s the opposite of what happens. Most of the time, it’s all a blur. At best. Sometimes, it’s a complete blank. It’s as if working memory got wiped clean, and they can’t remember anything before 15-20 minutes before the traumatic event took place. The last thing they remember was leaving their house, and now they’re waking up in the ICU. If they were conscious, they were probably “in the zone” — reaction after reaction without time for reflection necessary for consolidation into long-term memory.

      Sp yes, a traumatic experience can leave us with a vivid memory. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s complete, or even accurate. And most of the time, it’s the opposite, and we have little or no useful memory of the event.

  1. SeanR says

    Did you update your avatar?

    • Me? No, not for a long time. I probably should, though, right? I mean, look at those pupils. It’s like I drew myself with a concussion or something.

  2. My parents were watching an episode of Blue Bloods last week, while I was there. It was about this subject exactly. But it was super ham-handed about it, but that’s another story…
    Anyway, it’s this one:

    I feel like I’ve learned more about the human brain from this comic than from most of school. I think that’s good!

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