Yesterday I couldn’t sleep. I laid in bed with my eyes closed and my body covered with blankets. I wasn’t really tired, but I wasn’t wide awake either. I was restless instead. Tossing and turning, praying for sleep to come and get me. But he didn’t. Instead he let me drown, into a dark, deep sea of thoughts about sublimity. I was thinking, not consciously, but my unconscious started wandering. I just realized that this exact moment was one I would easily forget. One that would not stay alive in my memory. Ninety percent of everything I do daily, won’t be stored in my mind. Realizing this freaked me out. As if everything I did today never happened. As if the biggest part of my life never even happened. Of course, I knew this already, but it never really bothered me. Suddenly this intense fear was so strong and I was overwhelmed by it.
How does this selection of memories work? I don’t feel like I have much control over it. There are so many moments I badly want to remember, but which I forget in a short amount of time. Other moments that I wish to forget stay forever. I don’t feel like I decide myself which memories to keep or to erase. And of course, selection is a good thing. My mind would over flow with memories if I would remember every single detail of every moment that ever happened. I don’t wish for that either. But I do wish to remember some moments more vividly than I do now.
My memory got worse these last years. When I was a child, my memories were so vivid and bright. I remembered every detail of every situation of every occurrence. Now my memories are blurry, fading with the day. I don’t remember faces, voices, smells, colours, sounds, or other sensations. Even when I try real hard. It’s like my mind is blocking most of it. Which is sad and leaves me completely numb. Pictures and writings do help in the process of remembering. Therefore I take a lot of pictures and write a lot. To keep moments alive, in a way. Looking at a picture, or reading a text can take me back to that exact moment, not fully, but it is something. Without pictures or writings I wouldn’t be able to remember anything.
And yet again it’s so clear that time is an illusion. It’s a construction in the mind of the human being. What if we didn’t have the ability to store moments in our minds, to recall things from the past, or to anticipate on the future, would there even exist something like time? What if we didn’t create this chronological timeline of events in our mind and we would also be not aware of this inability? How would life look like? How would people behave? I’m wondering how animals experience this. Do they have a sense of time like humans do? Animals are so fully present, so occupied in the moment. They do not bother for the past or the future. I do believe they have a sense of time, but I don’t think in the way humans do. For example, an animal can have a trauma too and is able to recognize things of people they’ve seen in the past, but I don’t believe they set up schedules for the week in their mind.
I’m trying to understand these concepts. But maybe time and the mental process of remembering can’t be fully understood by the human mind. Maybe its definition belongs to a greater good, something that is bigger than all of us.