On the past

When people ask you to forget the past, what do they mean? What else is there to remember?

People then advocate selective amnesia, but truth is we probably don’t have any control over the process of selection.

Sure there is a valid case for forgiving, and maybe that is a function of selection, control and priority ranking. But the illussion of control is clearly hilarious.

17 Comments

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17 Responses to On the past

  1. Well ……… not really so much……… I agree it is a debatable question, but there are enough case studies of hypnosis recordings, pointing to people forgetting things/events………..granted it happens under huge stress…….but nevertheless it does……. :D

  2. Yes, truly an illusion. This idea of forgetting, forgiving, not only someone else, but even oneself.

    Even under huge stress, there is no control over what one does forget and what one remembers.

  3. People only recommend forgetting the past if remembering it makes them look bad. If things make them look stellar, they remind us again and again with exhortations such as ‘Don’t you remember when…?’. So someone saying ‘forget it’ is almost always a confirmation that the recommender is pissed off that you remember :-/

    As for forgiving, it helps mainly because it stops us wasting energy on disliking something/ someone. It also feels incredibly light afterwards. [ I recently read a blog post which likened continuing to be angry with carrying a bucket of shit – it is heavy, it smells and guess what, it isn’t even your shit. Yes, smelly analogy but quite right. Once you put the bucket down, it is much nicer :-) ]

  4. “People then advocate selective amnesia, but truth is we probably don’t have any control over the process of selection.”

    That was a wonderful line ! Ofcourse we do not have control over the selection. How different it would be, if only we could click on that memory and hit ‘delete’ button !

    How much ever we try, computational speed can change but the brain and it contours will stay undulated !

  5. And the more you try hard to forget, you keep remembering exactly that which you want to forget :) So couldnt agree with you more, its practically a no win situation :)

  6. ra

    But maybe we can change the way we think about it, if not forget it.

  7. Very insightful. And so true…

  8. It means, you are nagging.

  9. Ankur

    One thing that clearly is under one’s control is recognizing the lessons that the past throws up in the present and accepting them and their role in shaping us as people. I guess once this becomes a habit, one can control one’s reactions toward the memory of the past, if not the selection.

  10. ammani

    ‘truth is we probably don’t have any control over the process of selection.’

    Wow! How come something so simple and so bloody true never occured to me?

  11. WA

    So true about the selective amnesia part

  12. If only one could live in the moment without the burdens of the past.
    Forgiving and changing ones mindsets do take time, but are worth the effort.

  13. I guess what they are trying to tell you is to try and forget the bitter memories and move on.

    I personally ask people to learn their lessons from the past, and not necessarily live with all the bitterness that it brings with it sometimes.

    Cheers……..Jam

  14. I think we do have a control over our memories. I have very conveniently forgotten a lot of faces, instances, even those of good old friends.
    Means the slate is washed clean!
    Memory is like a hard disk. We cannot use our head efficiently if too much is stored. Not only that, our weight also reduces if we delete. :). So empty the trashbox and fly.

  15. sumana

    An uncanny comment at a time when im battling the same- how true that we have no control over the process of selection…

    For sure, they who want you to forget, basically mean that ‘forget that we were mean/ evil/bad in the past..see now, we are so good and in fact better’!!!
    Something keeps me from wiping the sla te clean – what if its left that way at the end of life???

  16. I do often wish we could click and delete portions of our memory. For that matter, ctrl C + ctrl V and ctrl Z would be handy options as well.

    //When people ask you to forget the past, what do they mean? What else is there to remember?//

    Plenty. Insurance premiums, EMIs, birthdays….

  17. Prasoon

    So true. If past was to be forgotten, really, whats there to remember then.

    Fav’d this. Thanks for writing.