Memory is two different systems both operating in parallel at the same instant of perception.
There's the short term awareness as encoded in the ~40 Hz cortico-thalamo-cortical loops of active cortical neuronal populations. The binding in time of different types of cortical processing at the thalamic relays and stimuli representation are essential to, if probably not all of, conscious awareness.
There's also the long term encoding in the entorhinal cortex (3 layers transitions from the 5 of cortex to hippocampus "simplicity") and hippocampus which itself is a multiple component system encoding different properties of the new experience relative to existing memory and relations. There is "pattern separation" about encoding distinct new properties of some experience and "pattern completion" which encodes in terms of the past to extract meaning in terms of known relations. And both of these are referenced through two spatial coordinate systems (especially in CA3). The meaning is all in terms of place.
Distinguishing between things (pattern separation) and seeing how things are the same (pattern completion).
During sleep the spatial coordinate system "paths" of the day are revisited in activation backwards in time and the specific episodic and spatially referential memories of the hippocampal formation are generalized in reference to thalamo-cortical loops.
Recall of memory later depends on self-reinforcement of thalamo-cortical loops populations. Over time memories which a person holds as truths can actually shift based on their own biases and other associations which help form/hold that memory.
Consciousness is the turbulence of prediction that tries to minimize itself.
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