forget the former things, behold the new thing

15 i am not human, we

“It’s always important to know when something has reached its end.  Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.”*

[E]very time we remember anything, the neuronal structure of the memory is delicately transformed, a process called reconsolidating. … The memory is altered in the absence of the original stimulus, becoming less about what you remember and more about you.’**

I’ve recently been sharing how I’m moving into a new quest in life.^

It means moving into unfamiliar territory.  And reality is sharpening with only a couple of weeks to go – last evening my colleagues kindly hosted a meal for myself and another colleague who’s retiring, and there’s an unwritten rule that you don’t return within the first year of leaving.

The door on my past is closing.

There are loads of memories that force their way to the surface at such times, but Jonah Lehrer points out how inaccurate these memories are.  Every time I remember something I’m altering it, and it appears that this has to happen if I’m to remember something:

‘[T]he margins of those memories are being modified to fit what we know now.  Synapses are crossed out, dendrites are tweaked, and the memorised moment that feels so honest is thoroughly revised. … [E]very memory is inseparable from the moment of its recollection. … If your prevent the memory from changing, it ceases to exist. … we have to misremember something in order to remember it.’*

Such remembering is always, nostalgic, then.  No wonder I’m becoming more and more concerned and cautious over those who want us to regain the past, whether that be religious, political, nationalistic … or work, because it never existed as they remember it.

Does this mean nostalgia detracts from the present and the future?

If we’re always trying to get back to something it must be hard to hear what the future is saying to us – about who we are, who we are together, and what it means to be connected to and part of the future of the whole earth.

Who, then, will behold the new thing?

(*Paulo Coelho, quoted in Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit.)
(**From Jonah Lehrer’s Proust was a Neuroscientist.)
(^I am moving out of a role I’ve known for some thirty six years, into futuring, mentoring, blogging, and doodling.  Specifically, I want to contribute to those who feel their lives are unconsidered and overlooked, but who have amazing things to contribute.)


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