More about memory

I’ve decided to slow down and not try to post something every 24 hours. I’m reminded of the writer who quit writing for years because it seemed to him there were too many words in the world. Certainly the internet makes it seem so. But I won’t stop, at least not for a while, despite the many millions of blogs out there with their billions of words. I want to talk and this is my best way to do it. So there will be another post from me at least every few days.

My friend, Jane, who has kindly agreed to comment when she has any reason at all to do so, is a follower of the Dalai Llama, and had this to add to what she’s said before about memory.

As for memory, it’s totally subjective, thus “empty” on its own side, from the Buddhist perspective. Part of the play of the mind.

To me memory seems much more than “part of the play of the mind.” Watching my mother lose hers, I realized more and more how much it has to do with everything we are and do. Memory is the context in which we operate, and without it, we begin to disappear.

In fact, without memory we lose our ability to do the simplest things: wash up, go home, see the color green.  That doesn’t mean I agree with most of the scientists studying the human mind that we are gone when all memory is gone. Of course, whether we are or not isn’t really relevant to Buddhist understanding.

Getting back to the subject of this blog, I’m sure that for many of us growing older means a difference in the way we relate to our memories. We have a veritable parade of them stretching out behind us, the very stuff of life. I remember when I was very young – about 21 – and cocksure that if I couldn’t write well it had nothing to do with any lack in what I’d experienced. Life already seemed very rich.

If it was rich then, what is it now? There are volumes to be written, canvases  to be painted, and concerts-full of songs to be sung. If anything, there is more reason in old age to create than there ever was before, more reason to search for meaning, more joy in the doing of it. What is remembered, half-remembered, or there without the conscious knowledge of it, is more plentiful than ever before.

In this blog I hope to look at people I know and people I wish I knew, examine what they’re making or have made of old age. On my write-about-list are Gayleen Aiken, a visionary artist; Jane Jarvis, a jazz musician; Lee Konitz, another jazz musician…. I have two wonderful poets in mind, a ceramist, another visionary…. I think I could go on and on. And may!

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2 thoughts on “More about memory

  1. Lee Konitz keeps young by playing with the most creative young musicians around. He travels the world like a troubador. I haven’t heard him recently, but friends have and say he looks well and sounds marvelous.

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