January 16, 2006

Thoughts on Memory

Posted in reflection at 1:30 pm by jimazing

Life is sort of like a book. It happens page by page. As the characters in the book, we cannot know what is coming next. We do not know if the next page will contain some “dramatic irony” that will leave us flat on our faces. Will we experience some grand miracle that will solve all of our problems?

As I write this, it occurs to me that I’m in the middle of a page now. Will I live to read what I’m writing now? Will I actually post the blog for the world to see?

As I look back at my life, I see it as events (chunks of life), but they don’t feel like “events” when I am living them. It feels fluid. One thing leads to the next… the atmosphere… the Berlioz piece that is playing as I write this… the distracting thoughts going through my head…

Memory is a great gift. There are so many advantages to remembering over living the events. In my memory, (like reading a book) I can move forward and backward in time, examining each page and each scene. I can see how they built up to the climax and how everything came out in the end. Not so in the middle of living it. Sure, I can return to earlier events, but that’s not living; that is remembering, and it isn’t the same thing… even if I am remembering remembering 🙂

Although there are many advantages to remembering, memory misses the boat completely when it comes to emotions. To truly relive emotion would be to feel the emotion again. to feel afraid, to re-experience the self doubt as if you hadn’t already decided the thing that you were worried about. When we are in the moment, we feel the feeling of uncertainty because we don’t know what is coming. When we recall the event, we already know the end. We know the thing that we didn't know that caused the anxiety. Now that we know we have nothing to fear, we cannot possibly remember the feeling accurately.

So remembering is wonderful, but it has to go hand in hand with living. If we don’t live, there won’t be anything to remember. If we live without reflecting and remembering, we waste our living. It is only in the remembering and reflecting that we can learn. And in the reflection, we learn. And from the learning, we grow.

I posted it 🙂


  1. cb in chs said,

    POsting once a month? Twice a year? Whenever something happens?

    Just curious! 😎

    cb in chs

  2. Jim said,

    Thanks CB. I hope to get faster and more consistent over time. Right now it is when I feel inspired.


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