The Discomfort of Memory

Nimesh Bastola

“There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery” ― Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

The above words of Dante, as he wrote in his most profound work, ‘The Divine Comedy,’ are equally profound as his entire work. Or to say, his comprehensiveness of profound words marks the range of profundity of his work. The above words solely resemble a man’s throbbing heart out of the discomfort which simply authenticates its depth and endlessness.

Some days before, I had talked to a man who calls himself a victim of love, a rehabilitant of mental breakdown. I was totally blown away by reading his erupted poems, the consequence of his broken memory. One of his dialectic and archaic poem was written as an answer to Hamlet’s soliloquy, to ‘Act 3 Scene 1’, ‘To be, or not to be’, to the nunnery scene.

How Hamlet was troubled by his memories and how another Hamlet is fighting with his memories being diseased by someone’s memories! In this world, the kingdom of fallen memories. Here, not far from us, just somewhere inside us. In every one of us, the discomfort of memories.

Merely the face of somebody can be enough for the outbreak of uncountable memories which is further responsible for the eruption of unmanageable emotions. A man can lose all his nights and can be irresponsible for all his days by the imagination of somebody’s appearance. This condition of owning others’ memories and making them own costs an unbearable experience, sometimes leading us to the edge of one’s existence.

I very well recognize a young man who recollects his joyful memories with his students, of the days when he used to be a teacher. He grieves for hours, sometimes a whole day he misses the beautiful faces and the pleasant voices of those children who used to call him ‘sir’. He once quoted James Baldwin- “The children are always ours, every single one of them, all over the globe; and I am beginning to suspect that whoever is incapable of recognizing this may be incapable of morality.” I was bewildered by his belief, by such wise thoughts on children. He often mumbles, “We are nothing, children are everything”. I wonder how a man can be wounded by the collection of his own pleasant memories! How good can turn down into evil, to the darkness that can devour a man alive!

The mind does not work
Has no belief in the heart
The mind creeps
The heart beats
In the against
To the self
There is no self
The house of memories

A man can be depressed merely by his collections of memories. He sometimes becomes a daily consumer of psychiatric and a worshipper of drugs, Prozac, alcohol and smoke. The blood can be a composition of drugs and a man can be a walking narcotic hanger of cloth. A night can be so real to him which shows the true faces of it, the wide-awake nightmares wake him up all night. Insomnia, the witness of his aliveness for his nights and the symptoms of lifeless aliveness for his days.

The collections of memories are not always the product of past events but as well as arisen from the desire to create events for the future. Our imagination is the product of future events created by the memories that are desired to exist. The unknown imagined existence of something or someone can be equally effective as the real existence in the past. The memories can break the realm of existence beyond the superficial understanding of past, present and future.

As the American hitchhiker, Christopher McCandless had expressed at the last moment of his life: “Happiness is only real when shared.” Perhaps, this is the most emotional and honest experience a man ever could sense. The modernity in man, his loneliness is his unfertilized and bare sets of his unshared memories. A lonely man feels himself no man, no more than his collections of memories, no more than clusters of desire to cast those into some fertile fields where they can bloom into colorful fruits and flowers, for the hope of one’s future.

The flow of emotions
The happiness
The sorrow
The drops of memories
Longing to be more in the pond of memories
The desire for consolation
Entangle between pleasure and pain
The same old memories

The songs, movies, stories and even of our present achievements are the consequences of memories. Our running trade and daily business are the sprinkles of our stored memories. Sometimes happiness and our long chain of sadness are the products of our comprehended sets of memories. The comprehending mechanism of memories in the present determines our degree of happiness and sadness.

A man can be dead physically but the memories of him in others mind makes him alive. The love, that the world lures, is the surrender to the memories when one is no longer able to contemplate the effect arises by the memories. A man can kill himself or fall into the hands of somebody when he is unable to control his memories, losing sanity for a while.

It is said that fishes have short memory and the other lower creatures comparatively have less or no memory at all. This inability of most of the creatures makes man have a special ability which makes him the man. Homo sapiens, the man of the mind, stand far away from others only of his mind, having astonishing memory ability. But the discomfort of having memory, a thinking mind equally lurks behind any other kinds of significance, being a blessing and a curse, both at the same time.