Now, then, and I
Bring to mind an experience you had earlier today-something “fresh”.
It should be an experience that lasted at least a few minutes and had some emotional content that was “noticeable”. It does not have to be a very important event.
Consider the details of that experience for a few moments-enough that the sub-events of the experience are remembered in the order of their occurrence. Then quickly run through the experience again. Try to “get it good” as if you are an author describing an experience of a character in a novel. Try to re-live the experience.
Ask yourself,Why are certain parts of the experience now “blank” or “not being filled in” or “unattended to” or “not fully envisioned”? Am I unconcerned about these lost parts? Are parts of my life “really not worthy of being stored”?
How quickly do my experiences fade into a “limbo” from which they are almost or entirely unavailable to me when I try to remember them?
What can I really remember-easily-about my past? How much detail is “lost forever”? 30%? 60%? 90%?
In light of how little I remember easily about my life, how much sense does it make when I juxtapose that fact with how intensely I would feel if a doctor told me that I was losing my memory at an unusually rapid pace?
How important are memories when I define myself? Would I be “more a person” if I could remember twice as much about my life as I presently do?
How much less am I able to recall the life details of even my most deeply loved friends? How much of my life dies when I die? What remains? What is the value of the memories of others of me?
Do I have experiences stored in memory that are easily retrievable and vividly detailed enough that they can equal the “dynamism” of “lesser but nearer in time” experiences? Why am I so attached to faint, vague, less detailed memories from long ago?
What is happening right now that I will not remember a few minutes from now?
In my earliest childhood memory, was the “I” that received this experience THEN the same “I” that is re-living it NOW?
What are the values of my strongest memories? How often do I “pull them out of the photo album”? How is my personal history different from a character in a book? After I die who will page through my life story?
What do I do more: imagine the future or recall the past?
If I could set aside my attachment to all my memories, would it be “easier for me” when it came time for me to die?
Who am I right now that no memory can capture?