Memory – Boon or Bane?

Marcel Proust wrote pages about you. A mere act of having a Madeleine with an herbal stirs in him countless memories of his childhood. One wonders what would life look like if one cannot remember any happenings in life.Wouldn’t we all be living in the moment all our lives? Would that life be memorable?? We record involuntarily everything into our deep depths of our minds. We don’t even know what’s being there. But out of nowhere, they all come back to either haunt us or please us. Haven’t we all ended up into those special places out of nowhere? It might start with a simple song that you remember, then you are flooded with the thought which are linked to that song such as where you listened to the song, with whom you were, in what emotional state you were. You start thinking about those who were with you at the time of listening. It then triggers a chain of events associated with that person and it goes on and on until you come back to your sense and wonder how you ended up there.

Memories are weird phenomenon. We tend to remember what we like to remember, even though what we don’t like are also recorded in our minds. And we remember not how exactly the event occurred, but how we would like the event to be remembered. Science says that we add/delete certain actions when remembering. Over a period, we even might start remembering things that didn’t actually occur. What we read, see or listen to will get mixed up with our life’s happenings and we might write a whole new screenplay of our lives. This might be exhilarating or depressing, when we think about it at some later stage of our lives. If we keep rewriting screenplays, we lose our ability to distinguish the facts from fiction. Memories are in a way that hold our lives in tact. If someone takes away our memories, we would merely be automatons.

Sometimes, it is good not to have memories. Even if we have memories, it will be good not to recollect them. When we are in dark place emotionally, recollecting happy moments from our memory could either be a boon or a bane. We could fall rapidly into darkest places of our mind, by longing for those happy moments and end up being more depressed. This is perfectly captured in movie dialogue “Memories are wonderful thing, if we don’t have to deal with the past”. We like to remember things but not in the way the things happened or not when it was needed. We record everything just so that we can replay it and feel miserable about how lives are at the moment.

Even having time to replay our memories is a privilege that not many people have. One must have ample time at his/her disposal to recollect the past. All those life gurus say something along the lines of that one must make memories and not make money, but money if its taken away from individual there is a way that person can still survive. But if one fine day, if all our memories are taken away from us, who would we be? Isn’t that why people are scared of becoming demented? We hold on to our memories, even if we don’t recollect, like a falling person holds on to whatever she could with her life. She knows releasing the hold would be the end of her life, so do we think that losing our memories would be end of our lives. But is it really the case? Can’t we form new memories if we lose our memories? Wouldn’t it be like starting a fresh page and recording everything that occurs from that very moment. If that were the case, would we be the same person who was before that moment? Will we be reborn at that moment? In that case, are we 2 persons or same persons having 2 distinctive memories?

We are told that someday we all be just memories for others. Is that a good thing? Why should people remember us, unless we are in the same league as Gandhis, Einsteins, Camus, Carlins of the world. These people live through their works ages after they leave this world. In this case, are these people mere memories or real? If they were real, then do we take it that they all are living perpetually? What about the Hitlers of the world? Are they living for real or they mere memories? Imagine everyone records everything happening in her life in the hopes of remembering in her old age only to have lost her memories right when she thinks she could look back at her life. What’s the point of recording an event, when one cannot recollect it later. Shouldn’t we be living in the moment and not worry about recollecting weird things from our past in our future? Coming to think of it, when we are recording something in the hopes of remembering it in future, aren’t we time traveling, We are in the present, recording an event that would become past in future only to recollect the present, which would have become past then. In a way memories make us travel through different times.

Coming to think of it, I don’t remember why I started writing about memory all of a sudden. Isn’t it poetic that one writing about memory doesn’t remember the reason why he started writing about memory. Hey, I remember now. A line from a __ which said “Memory is the most important tool the oppressed people have”. Is it a powerful tool that strengthens us or that destroys us? Who knows and does it make any difference to our indifferent and insignificant lives. We might never know or rather we might never care to remember.

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