Living without Memory: Clive Wearing
Aerious Jeffery
Collin College
Dr. Gager
PYSC 2301. S09
Living without Memory: Clive Wearing
Memory is one of the key features needed to function in one's everyday life. Without memory, an individual can be left with terrifying and confusing experiences that are revisited at a constant rate. An example of this type of circumstance would be the film, Clive Wearing: Life without Memory. Clive Wearing is a man that has been stuck in the present for the last 24 years of his life. His condition was the result of a brain infection called Herpes simplex encephalitis. The infection left him with retrograde amnesia, as well as anterograde amnesia. While unable to form new memories and unable to remember memories from his past, his memory span can last only a few seconds. Wearing's case is the most severe form of amnesia ever recorded.
Throughout the film, the memory of Clive's wife, Deborah, never left him. He knew that he loved her and that she played an important factor in his life. Deborah saw Clive as much as she could, which was very often. Their love for each other never changed. During her visits with Clive, she had to be very careful on what and how she talked to Clive. The film expresses that because of Clive's condition, one would not be able to state that "yesterday was better than today", but would have to state that "today is a beautiful day". This is because Clive cannot remember the days before and because of that he would get frustrated and angry. Also, in the film, it does discuss that Clive has a daughter but does not remember her. It's as if the daughter doesn't exist because he cannot remember the simplest thing about her, not even her name. The film does not mention any other family or friends of Clive's outside of his wife and daughter that he cannot remember. Another memory that Clive has yet to forget is conducting music and playing the piano. Although he remembers these things, once done performing it, Clive has a seizure like response. As far as Clive's living condition, he lives in brain injury centers. He will not be able to live by himself because of the chance that he injures himself or anyone else around him. Therefore, Clive will be living with help for the rest of his life in order to function throughout his daily life.
Lastly, throughout the film, Clive will experience episodic and semantic memory. Episodic memory are events experienced by a person. An example of this would-be Clive experiencing emotions and feelings for his wife, Deborah, that never left his memory. He has remembrance of her face, her name, and who she is to him throughout his life. Another example of episodic memory would be Clive's remembrance of playing the piano and conducting music. Semantic memory are facts, and general knowledge. An example of this kind of memory would be Clive's physical motor skills. His remembrance of how to talk, stand up, move his body parts, and basically the using these motor skills on a daily base. In the film, it shows that all these things Clive still can do. Therefore, the things that Clive needs to survive are still active. The things he remembers are the things that are most important to him, which is his wife and his music.
References
Clive Wearing: A Man without Memory [Motion picture on YouTube video]. (1985). Britain.
Chapter 09 - Memory, Psychology, by David G. Myers, 6th ... (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2016