Ya big softie

Maybe I’m just a big sentimental softie, but I bet if you peer deep into your past, you don’t see a list of names, dates, and places. Instead, I bet you get a hodgepodge of images and events, and I bet that some of the details are hazy or mixed up, like who was there, what they were wearing, or whether it happened when you were six or when you were eight. But I bet the feelings are clear. You’re probably not confused about whether you felt proud or afraid, welcomed or rejected. And I bet that although you could describe these memories to me—a golden-hued day at the zoo, the last fight your parents had before they got divorced—the words would leave a lot out. To really get me to understand, you’d need to hook your brain up to mine, Avatar-style, so I could feel what you felt.

~ Adam Mastroianni from, https://experimentalhistory.substack.com/p/youll-forget-most-of-what-you-learn


Mastroianni’s article is about learning. In particular, how and why and when we forget, and what might we try to do about that fact. I go through cycles of grasping at trying to remember, and leaning into the forgetting. At the end, I expect I’ll forget everything. (Just sayin’.)

My life improves when I realize that my happiness is relative to where I set my sights. If my goal is to remember as much as possible, I’m going to fall short and be disappointed. If my goal is to be pleasantly surprised when I’m reminded of things (experiences, ideas from others, and my own ideas) which I had already discovered, then that suggests a different course of action. Rather than strain to hold on to everything, I try to release everything from within my mind, and try arrange the world around me to bring me joy.