110907 The Coggs, Ottawa, ON

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I have no recollection whatsoever of being at this show; I can’t remember ever hearing of a band called The Coggs before or since and as I’ve been to The Rainbow many, many times I can’t squeeze any of my memories from there (shooting pool upstairs, bellying up to the big curved bar downstairs, rocking out on the crowded dancefloor) to this show.  It simply no longer exists in my mind, and if not for the ticket stub in my book I would forever deny being at this show, maybe even under hypnosis.

So in retrospect, was there any point in me attending this show?

Allow me to introduce Henry Molaison, or simply H.M., as he was known to the neuroscience world until his death in 2008.

Molaison had severe epilepsy and as a result both of his temporal lobes were removed when he was 27 years old.  This procedure left Henry with no ability to create new memories whatsoever.  His conscious mind could not remember a single thing that happened to him from that moment forward.  For example, the nurse who worked with him every day for decades would start each morning by introducing herself to her patient, and every day she was greeted as a stranger.

Now here’s the question: Would it be worth it for H.M. to go to concerts, or to go on fun and expensive (and to him immediately forgotten) vacations?  Like, is pleasure for pleasure’s sake enough, or is it the memory of the pleasure that is the real prize from a given experience?

I’ve wondered about this for years – it’s a really good question.  Is the point of an experience the mental souvenir?  If so, does that completely obliterate the concept of ‘living in the moment’?

Am I glad I went to see The Coggs on November 9th, 2007, or was it a waste of my time and money?

And still I ponder.

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