“Life without memory is no life at all”

Not too long ago I found myself unable to recall an element of a story from my past.  It was a story I have narrated many times since it occurred nearly 15 years ago.  The event was not insignificant, and what I could no longer remember were my own words.  I could picture the scene.  I could feel what I said.  The words, however, seemed slurred, as if they were on a tape that was being played too slowly.

What a curious thing memory is.  There is so much of each day that we do not remember.  But then there are these episodes that we can revisit repeatedly; many of them, in my case anyhow, so very random, of so little significance.  Yet they stick, they linger, they creep into consciousness for no obvious reason.  And then there are those memories that are like so many beads we string together on the narrative thread of our emplotted lives.  Even these, it seems, are not as durable as we might hope.

Anthony Doerr opens Memory Wall with this reflection from Luis Bunuel’s autobiography, My Last Sigh:

You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives.  Life without memory is no life at all, just as an intelligence without the possibility of expression is not really an intelligence.  Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action.  Without it, we are nothing.

5 thoughts on ““Life without memory is no life at all”

  1. Life is memory, a constant past and present, without it, you never existed. The present is merely a past in less than nano second. by the time it happens and your brain collects data, it is over and is past. Therefore memory is part of the equation of life it self. Time and memory are the equating factors.
    Without memory, there is no time, and without time there is no memory. That can be perceived as death as most people know it. But many believe there is life after death. If so, the spirit or soul, must have some conscience or memory of time. If not, weather your spirits live or die
    , you will never know!

  2. Weather you lived 5 years or 105 is meaningless once memory is gone. Nothing ever existed! Not you or anyone you knew. Unless the spirit carries the brain data with it when you pass you will never recall this life. As it was before you came, maybe your spirit was of something else. But without memory, what good is it. Can we all recall before we were born? I’m sure not, some may think they experience pre life existence, many have, but this is only their personal perspective in a moment in time, Time/memory is a key to any life in the human
    existence, unless God has other plans!

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