Thine Own Mind

By Chris Stones

"You only live as much as you can remember."

I spoke the words in passing and was mildly shocked to hear someone
tell me that it was an interesting philosophy.

Philosophy? I hadn't realized it was a philosophy. But as soon as I
did I was suddenly confronted by a belief of mine that was as
unexamined as it was ingrained. I vowed to fill in my thoughts later.
In other words, I was going to figure out the philosophy that I had
somehow managed to walk in to without looking.

You only live as much as you can remember.

They are the words that I recite when I imagine myself facing my own
mortality be it far in the future or to close for comfort.[1] I
believe it serves as my most dear justification for keeping the
journal. Since 1999, I've always been finding reasons to keep my
journal. I always envision my future self contemplating the final
chapters of life on the death bed. And I ask myself what I'd like to
do when I get there. I want to be able to replay time be it via the
written word or animated graphics. I wish to meditate upon the
closing summary of my life. I certainly didn't want to lay there
muttering in shock, "Where has the time gone???"

Aside from my personal feelings there lay yet more imaginative
meanings behind my temporal mantra. Imagine via some future technology
I am able to freeze the processes and patterns of my brain. Mind you,
its not through the damaging flash freezing process but via nano-
technological biostasis. All the molecules that make up my bio
machinery would be locked in place and suppose they are stuck for some
undefined amount of time. They are re-animated. But for me, no time
will have seemed to pass. Without new memories, time will have stopped
for me. Was I alive?

Death is kinda of the great big forget. After all, corpses don't make
new memories and neither does a human in suspended animation. And so
the process of 'being alive' and 'remembering you're alive' are
strongly intertwined. That's because memories grant us identity. If a
copy of me was fabricated down to the last memory it would look, sound
and act like me. The memories inform the present and thus have value
and substance despite no longer being attached to the real events of
the being that has them. In effect, it would have "my" life for all
intends and purposes.

A Life. Your life. The patterns of connections in your head, each
action you take, is written down without you lifting a finger. Your
mind fills in the story of your life one moment at a time. And this
endless march holds us in the muck of the illusion of continuity. We
believe we are a set of continues moments but if we can stop a mind
and restart, if we can slice time own to discrete quantum units. What
then are 'you' from moment to moment? Just a mess of patterns that
will reply with a name when asked? So long as our neurons keep our
life story humming along we never notice any irregular breaks aside
from falling asleep at night. [2] So what binds us to our identities?

Living is re-living.

If I had no memory I would have nothing to draw upon. If I have
imperfect faulty skewed memories all the worse. What kind of life is
full of mistaken ideals that got re-written as the past? That's just
not legit enough for me. I like knowing the world as I experienced has
been pegged for the final conclusion. When I hear someone say, "But
where did all the time go?" I'm glad I can slap a thick stack of
papers and say, "There it is." It all really happened.

Because if I can't remember what does it matter if it happened? Is a
life worth living if you can't remember any of it? What about all
those trees falling in forests without anyone to listen to them? Do
they make sounds? You might say yes. But what of it? I might live
through all kinds of things. But without memory there is no story to
tell. There is no continuous thread. If some god like entity pulled
out the bulk of my memories from 6 till 60 and I was done for I'd say
I had a pretty brief life because that is how it would feel.

But we do forget a lot of our lives.

Worthy days are memorable days. So remembering more days makes more
worthy days. And by filling in the textures of life with bookmarks the
accents, the ups and downs, the insights and the laughs ring true
again. Tracking time unlocks treasures. Days I once thought were
nominal, ordinary or unassuming take on a new life in retrospect. I
can think of one fabulous example. A great day I never appreciated at
the time, until I read about it months later. Unless you keep a
journal solidly you lose track of your life. Trust me. I've re-read
moments that would have been lost forever had I not picked them up and
polished them into a cellulose binding. Second chances are possible
in the journal. So, I'm glad I keep track because you only live as
much as you can remember.


[1] I have a habit of not letting myself relax so that I don't fall
behind in my ambitious life schedule.

[2] Making artwork that shows you how your body is transforming. What
pieces are swapping out might have some odd affect on self identity.

TODO make a style adjustment rather than trying to paragraphitzie everything
line breaks need to show up on mobile too

You don’t understand! I coulda had class.
I coulda been a contender.

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