Memory

Jan. 1st, 2012 12:41 am
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Why do memories have such a strong hold over us? Where does the obsession with them originate from, and how come we welcome it?
What are memories? Memories are biased interpretations of what we perceived to be real at the time. They are personal recollections of the past, often consisting of intangible ideas, yet we place so much faith into them. We close our eyes and we think, "We remember, therefore we know".
We're often told to "live in the present" and not "dwell in the past" for the sake of progress. Failures are considered hindrances to success, but we also analyze our past mistakes for the sake of improvement. We fixate onto memories because they present a reality that once existed to us - a reality that we may want to reproduce, to sustain, to fix, or to completely avoid.
We are able to store memories in our heads and distinguish them from reality at the same time. We trust our own memories, and we use them every day. Memory allows us to function, to interact, and to establish relationships. Some may even go as far as to say that we cannot live without memory.
Why is it so important to remember?
There is a line between truth and reality. Memories may or may not be the truth, but they are very real to our minds. We seek comfort in the fact that while we are not gods in the real world, we are gods of our own worlds. Reality is out of our control, but we can control ourselves.
Memories are not facts or observable phenomena, but we put faith into them because we trust our own judgements, in hopes of securing control over our desired reality. It doesn't matter whether they are true, or whether others agree with them - our memories serve as identities, definitions of ourselves, and reminders as to who we are.
However, memories are far from perfect.
There is nothing wrong with cherishing memories, but it can become destructive when we obsess over the past, such that we close ourselves to the world. We identify with memories because they are familiar, but we mustn't be afraid to be open to new experiences as well. Sometimes we're so accustomed to memories that we become apprehensive to reality's changes - foreign changes that may not make immediate sense to us. Reality becomes unbearable - because not only do we have zero control over it, we lack understanding. We turn to memories, to the past, and try to make sense of things in our own ways.
It should be noted though, that ignorance does not alter reality; it only serves as a blindfold. We can fool ourselves into thinking that we know better, but we only know as much as we are exposed to. Our memories are limited, and our knowledge is limited. We can learn from the past, but we must learn to move on as well. By opening up to the world and trying to understand it, we can form new experiences and work towards a better future.

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