Monday, June 1, 2009


"Blessed are the forgetful, for they get the better even of their blunders". Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil. Well, I know it's Nietzsche and all, but I beg to differ.

Milan Kundera wrote a book called The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, where the characters are always trying to either erase their memories or desperately get them back. You can do neither, that's the thing. Human Memory's a scient being, you cannot erase it simply because it displeases you - or go after it because it's warm and cozy.

"Memory, it can't be understood without a mathematic approach either. The fundamental data is the numeric relation between lifetime already lived and lifetime stored in the memory. It has never been attempted to calculate this relation and there is no technical way to do it; however, with no great chance of a mistake, I may suppose that memory does not store more than a millionth or billionth part, in a nutshell, a measly fraction of life lived. This too belongs to human essence. (...) What is this poor little thing capable of? It can only retain a small part of the past, without anyone knowing why this one and not that one, for this choice, each one of us does it misteriously, without our free will." (Kundera, Ignorance - my own translation, forgive me.)

Forgetting should be the eighth sin. There's only so much memory can do by itself, one should not hinder its already too hard work. It does work at random, I agree - but then again, don't we all? Memory's only human, after all.
Voluntarily Forgetting is nothing more than the act of raping: you're forcing your fragile memory into something she does not desire to do, something she can barely defend herself against, in a lonely deserted place where she's the only living thing around.
And Recapturing lost memories is just like chasing Amy - no use. Once gone, forever it shall be. If Forgetting is raping, Recapturing is trying to bring back one's virginity. It's simply out of reach - if you insist on it, you'll look as ludicrous as those women who actually go as far as undergoing hymen reconstruction surgery.
If you feel like something you cherish is slipping away from you, don't do anything to hold it back: the more you hold on to it, the more it'll struggle to set itself free - and make no mistake, it will manage to.
And if you realize you've forgotten some unpleasant memory, something you actually wished to be rid of, feel blessed. Do not incur the danger of getting used to it.

Cus it's such a blessing when it does happen, isn't it?

Waking up one day and realizing, with that self-satisfied smirk on your face, that the long despised memory looks smaller and smaller as the days go by. Try to top that!
This only happens when your memory is in a whore mood - she's just trying to please you, thus selling out. But most days she's a modest and homely catholic virgin - you'll get nothing from her.

Forgetting is sadder than all.

It hurts, and you struggle. Then, at last, it vanishes from inside of you. The memory's gone. That face, those words, the laughter, a certain day, whatever. A phone number, if you will. It just doesn't hurt anymore, and you're thankful.
All of that loses its meaning. And you just took away the meaning of this hugely important piece of you - cus if something hurts you, how could it ever be petty and unimportant? How could a piece of you be worth forgetting? How can one let go of even a fraction of oneself?

Besides, it's sadly easy to live after forgetting. It's comfortable, light, it feels like you've been granted a new start. That's just an illusion, cus after a certain point, life does not grant new starts. You gotta make do with what you already have in hand. So don't go down this road, cus it takes you nowhere. Forgetting is deliciously misleading.

Forgetting is for the weaker ones, too.

Now: try to live alongside those burning and painful outlive-everything-else memories. That'll demand much more from you, won't it? Traveling becomes way more difficult, your backpack is much too heavy for ya now.

You can look at it in two ways:
a) your backpack is too much for you, it's more than you can take.
b) you're just not used to it; after some time, it'll have the weight of a feather - all you need is the exercise.

In the Odissey, Homer leads his hero Ulisses to the land of the dead - the Hades. And there, the dead are bound to eternal forgetting.
Instead of trying to follow Tartaro's path, the living should come to terms with Memory. That's what life's all about.

I wouldn't travel in any other way.

Click on the link below to read my friend Iris’ views on Forgetting:


Iris H. said...

I've just linked this post to my blog. Hope you don't mind. You're a *great* writer! :D

RONNY DIAS said...

Oh... now I see your point! Good one, by the way! ;)