It's almost as though the period of excessive plasticity in childhood is a one-way street: there is huge potential for anything and everything to leave its mark, almost literally, on the brain. As the brain matures, however, we start to evaluate the world in terms of what has gone before: now there is a two-way street between the outside and our personal memories. Many of the haphazard experiences, the deluge of disconnected events that were the hallmark of our early years, are 'forgotten' as the synapses that subserved them are pruned away in favour of a clear, connected, conceptual framework for how we see ourselves, the rest of the world and our life story as a 'connected chain': a narrative. But an increasingly prevalent tragedy [Alzheimers disease] is that this sequence of events can be thrown into reverse gear.
Susan Greenfield researches Alzheimers disease and the physical basis of consciousness at Oxford University. She's also director of the Royal Institution. So she knows what she's talking about.
I like this quote because it describes our lives in terms of their development as meaning-making (for which, read story-making) machines. Tomorrow (which is my 38th Birthday - and seventh wedding anniversary) I'm going to map my own meaning-making journey onto this synopsis. Finally I might have a go, in a couple of days, at mapping Whitley's meaning-making in the same way.