Imagine being unable to recognize your parents, but being able to recall exactly what they look like. You can list all of their physical qualities, but walk right past them as if you had “face-blindness”.
This face-blindness is actually a condition called Prosopagnosia, and it is not specific to faces, although most cases are. Some people with prosopagnosia aren't able to recognize locations, personal items, or even the house they live in.
Sounds like amnesia, or even dementia, and while their condition is not optimal, it’s not as debilitating as many other brain dysfunctions. Individuals with prosopagnosia use ques and checklists to analyze what they don't recognize in order to be functional.
The opposite condition exists as well; under the same name (prosopagnosia refers to the dysfunction, rather than the hyper or hypo classification of an illness).
In this case, individuals are able to remember every face they have ever seen. Every waiter, passer-by on the street, and crowd full of people. They can even recall a face they knew without seeing them for 20 years!
While being interviewed by Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi, a woman was asked how she was able to do this. Her response:
“To me, a face growing old is just changing superficially, like going from brunette to blonde or getting a new hairstyle.”
These individuals with an over-ability to recognize faces, without the ‘toll of time’ interfering, raises the question:
Is aging only a process of superficial transformation?
If every 7 years, every cell in your body is new, are you really aging? Or do you just think you’re aging, and so your body physically follows your mind?
Aging may be indicative of the personal narrative you tell yourself. The concept is persuasive enough for me to question my belief of aging.
Be on the look-out for limiting personal narratives you may have.
P.S. This was originally sent on May 10, 2023. Sign up today for Daily Emails and get our free OCD resource: Unstuck.