24 December 2010

The Many Ghosts of Christmas Past

I'm given to understand that all studies on memory have come to the same conclusion: our memories are more fiction than fact, we revise our memories as time goes on, and the more "traumatic" the memory, the more likely and the more thorough the editing job will be.

I've come to be at least mildly suspicious of anyone's recounting of the past.  And that anyone includes myself.  And religious traditions.

And it's not at all just because the facts aren't somehow "right."  In the very act of recounting, I put distance between then and now, between that "reality" and this reality, between who "I," "he," "she," "it" and "they" were "then" and who-I-he-she-it-and-they-are-now.  The one I can speak of, since it's been so stripped of life; the other is so dynamic and close that words can't even begin to capture it.

If not now, never.  If not this, nothing.  If not me, no one.

No comments:

Post a Comment