Thursday, April 13

remembering and forgetting

Perhaps the two most moving chords that can be struck from the human heart are contained in these four words: I remember, I forget. For the unheard anthem of our whole existence is created out of the antiphonal movements of remembering and forgetting; not only the remembering and forgetting of individuals, but of races and cultures. Perfect balance between this pair of opposites is the mark of maturity...

[I]f remembering is a vital function, so also is forgetting. To forget is essential to sanity ... Even if this were not so, the loss would be immeasurable if all things were clearly remembered. Experience would lack its chiaroscuro, and history's canvas would have the maddening facial iteration of a mammoth end-of-term school photograph ... Man owes more than he guesses to the gray waves of oblivion. Through forgetting comes much beauty into life, much richness and strangeness.

-- Alan McGlashan The Savage and Beautiful Country