I am always fascinated how we choose to remember things and events in our lives as well as how involuntary memories are pressed within us.
Memory sustains us while emotion destroys us. Do we choose our memories or do they choose us?


Do we remember more the joys of our lives or the tragedies?

Are shared memories more powerful than solitary ones?

Which sense most strongly embeds memories with us?
Will there come a time in each of our lives when we begin to live more in the past than in the present because the amount of things we remember will always outweigh the events we have yet to live?

25 Comments

  1. Is there preference in memory? Are sweet touchings better remembered with more clarity than a punch in the arm or a smash in the head?
    Or do we remember the rough over the sensitive because the hardness better serves up the lesson of learning through memory?

  2. Hi David,
    I always seem to remember the good things, even though I know that things weren’t always so good at the particular time that I was experiencing things.
    When I hear music from the 1980s, I am instantly transported back into time and remember the carefree days of riding my bike around the neighborhood and playing with my friends. All of the things that caused stress have been filtered away. Bullies, difficult teachers and tough homework have faded into the deepest recesses of those memories. The good feelings of those days remain, while the tough times have faded away.

  3. That’s interesting how the stretch of time can frame memories, Chris. I agree that if “time heals all wounds” it must also re-align our thinking when it comes to memories that wounded us in real time.
    Music is a keen sense and a way of pinpointing ourselves in time and essence. Thanks for the excellent thoughts!

  4. It’s interesting to realize how memories work.
    When I was driving around noon today, something about the temperature — it’s cooler today — and the quality of the light made me think back to when I was in elementary school. It was almost a feeling of deja-vu.

  5. Love that analysis, Chris! Deja-vu is an extremely interesting phenomenon. I understand that effect comes to us in times of distress to calm us down by providing a “familiar memory” that may or may not have actually happened, but the effect is that the perception still soothes us.

  6. I never realized that was the function of deja-vu.
    I’ve always experienced it when I’ve been enjoying myself. The enjoyable event seems to get linked to some prior enjoyable experience.
    Maybe the mind is recording enjoyable events to save for future reference?

  7. I wonder why it hits you in quiet times, Chris?
    I sometimes get deja-vu so hard that I actually stop and say out loud, “I’ve been here before. I know what’s about to happen.” It’s actually quite a mind ride, but afterward I usually realize it hit me when I was really tired and probably on the edge between being fully awake and in a dream state.

  8. The lesson remains while the memory is gone!
    What I am trying to say is – if a past incident is painful – I try to understand the “why” behind it – it is hard to ignore the incident and concentrate on the quest for “reason” – but it makes life easier.

  9. Hello, David.
    Memories actually give us an opportunity to relive the moment. Of course, that’s a good thing only when the incident was a pleasant one.
    I prefer to focus on memories that I can share and talk about with others–things we did together–places we visited–meals we shared.
    Funny thing about deja-vu. When I was younger I experienced this phenomenal from time to time. Now I never do. Wonder why.
    Bless you.
    Shirley

  10. Hi Shirley!
    It is so wonderful to see your smiling face again! I hope you are doing well.
    You’re right that good memories can soothe us. However, sometimes repressed, negative, negative memories had a sly way of creeping out of our skin in terrible and undesirable ways.
    You might be at a place in your life where your good experiences outweigh your negative ones and you don’t need to retreat into the familiar moment of deja-vu to protect your psyche from exhaustion or harm.