"Our memories, at any given moment, form a solid whole, a pyramid, so to speak, whose point is inserted precisely into our present action. But behind the memories which are concerned in our present occupation and are revealed by means of it, there are others, thousands of others, stored below the scene illuminated by consciousness. Yes, I believe indeed that all our past life is there, preserved even to the most infinitesimal details, and that we forget nothing, and that all that we have felt, perceived, thought, willed, from the first awakening of our consciousness, survives indestructibly."

Henri Bergson


"memory is the crux of humanity and enables us to endure hardship."

Erica Jong


"One would expect people to remember the past and imagine the future, but in fact....they imagine the past and remember the future."

Lewis Namier


"Memory tempers prosperity,

mitigates adversity, controls 

youth, and delights old age."



"Memory! Yes a redeemer as well as a liar and betrayer. Like a medieval alchemist it takes the cheap baser metals and triumphantly turns them into pure-flowing gold; and the memory becomes more precious than the things that really happened."



"Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by so quick you hardly catch it going."

Tennessee Williams


....we die to each other daily.

What we know of other people

Is only our memory of the moments

During which we knew them. And they have

   changed since then.

To pretend that they and we are the same

Is a useful and convenient social convention

Which must sometimes be broken. We must

also remember

That at every meeting we are meeting a


"The Cocktail Party" by T.S. Eliot


Memory! What is it? Is it a betrayer, a consoler or a redeemer?"



"Is this after all the final recompense for living?



"There is a concealed strength in men's memories which they take no notice of."

Thomas Fuller

The Holy State and the Profane State


"Why is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person?"

François de la Rochefoucauld


"If only I could take a potion 

that would enable me to forget."

-Swami Vivekananda


"The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient, at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control! We are, to be sure, a miracle every way, but our powers of recollecting and forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out.:"

Jane Austen


"Thanks for the memories.
Bob Hope


"Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag."

Alexander Solzhenitsyn


"Memory feeds a culture, nourishes hope and makes a human, human."

Elie Wiesel


"Each and all, we are riding into the dark. Even living, we cannot remember half the events of our own days."

Loren Eisley

The Star Thrower



"The past is our mortal mother, no dead thing. Our future constantly reflects her to the soul. Nor is it ever the new man of today which grasps his fortune, good or ill. We are pushed to it by the hundreds of days we have buried, eager ghosts."


The adventures of Harry Richmond, 1871



"What would the future of man be if it were devoid of memory."

Elie Wiesel

From the Kingdom of Memory


"People aren't prepared for what is coming, an army of the forgetful is about to march on the whole country."

Elizabeth Cohen

The House on Beartown Road


(what would the future of man be if memory is manufactured?)



"Man must sometimes take a rest from his memory."

Guatemalan Indian to Lewis Lewin


"One lives in the hope of becoming a memory."

Antonio Porchia


Book: The Art of Memory by Francis Yates

Book: PDV-1  by F.E. Potts


"Memory is not just the imprint of the past time upon us; it is the keeper of what is meaningful for our deepest hopes and fears.

Rollo May


"The presence of an idea is like that of a loved one. We imagine that we shall never forget it, and that the beloved can never become indifferent to us; but out of sight, out of mind! The finest thought runs the risk of being irretrievably forgotten if it is not written down."

Schopenhauer 'On Thinking for Oneself', 



"Ah! The land of Yesterday, It lies in the West, in the times of the setting sun....It is the home of things past, and of all old, forgotten, unhappy memories: a vallied land, full of soft mists and trees that ever shed their leaves in the drowsy wind."

C.S. Lewis


"From the subterranean ore of memory we extract the jeweled visions of our future."

Miguel De Unamuno


"The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten"

Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living: Diaries 1933-39



"Something has to be done to get us free of our memories and choices."

John Cage


"Remembering everything is a form of madness."

Brian Friel


"The things we remember best are those better forgotten."


The Art of Worldly Wisdom, 1647


"You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces , to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all, just as an intelligence without the possibility of expression is not really an intelligence. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing."

Luis Bunuel (1900-1983)


"You are told a lot about your education, but some beautiful sacred memory, preserved since childhood is perhaps the best education of all. If a man carries many such memories into life with him, he is saved for the rest of his days. And even if only one good memory is left in our hearts, it may also be the instrument of our salvation one day."

Feodor Dostoevsky (1821-81)


"What a wonderful faculty is memory!-the most mysterious and inexplicable in the great riddle of life; that plastic tablet on which the Almighty registers with unerring fidelity the records of being, making it the depository of all our words, thoughts and deeds-this faithful witness against us for good or evil."

Susanna Moodie (1803-85)


"The light of memory, or rather the light that memory lends to things, is the palest light of all…..I am not quite sure whether I am dreaming or remembering whether I have lived my life or dreamed it. Just as dreams do, memory makes me profoundly aware of the unreality, the evanescence of the world, a fleeting image in the moving water."

Eugene Ionesco


"The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting."

Milan Kundera

The Book of Laughter and forgetting


"Life is all memory except for the one present moment that goes by so quick you hardly catch it going."

Tennessee Williams


"The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant."

Salvador Dali


"That is my major preoccupation-memory, the kingdom of memory. I want to protect and enrich the kingdom, glorify the kingdom and serve it."

Elie Wiesel


"One of the oddest things in life, I think is the things one remembers."

Agatha Christie


"Four ducks on a pond,

a grass-bank beyond,

a blue sky of spring,

White clouds on the wing:

What a little thing

To remember for years-

To remember with tears!"

William Allingham


"They teach us to remember; why do they not teach us to forget?"

F.A. Durivage



"The time is close when ye shall forget all things and be by all forgotten."

Marcus Auerelius


"Access to memory replaces historical knowledge as a way for our species to process its past. Memory has replaced history-and this is not bad news. On the contrary, it’s excellent news because it means we’re no longer doomed to repeat our mistakes; we can edit ourselves as we go along."

Douglas Coupland



   "We will never cease our critique of those persons who distort the past, rewrite it, falsify it, who exaggerate the importance of one event and fail to mention some other; such a critique is proper (it cannot fail to be), but it doesn't count for much unless a more basic critique precedes it: a critique of human memory as such. For after all, what can memory actually do, the poor thing? It is only capable of retaining a paltry little scrap of the past, and no one knows why just this scrap and not some other one, since in each of us the choice occurs mysteriously, outside our will or our interests. We won't understand a thing about human life if we persist in avoiding the most obvious fact: that a reality no longer is what it was when it was; it cannot be reconstructed."

Milan Kundera



"the one thing that differentiates human beings from all other creatures on Earth is the externalization of subjective memory-first through notches in trees, then through cave paintings, then through the written word and now, through data bases of almost other worldly storage and retrieval power.

Karla said that as our memory multiplies itself seemingly log-rhythmically, history’s pace feels faster, it is "accelerating" at an oddly distorted rate, and will continue to do so faster and faster……

Milan Kundera



"....With an empire the size of the Incas' it was important that administration be kept up to scratch, but this was a tricky business owing to the fact that the Incas were illiterate: this magnificent empire never discovered writing. They did, however, have their own special bookkeeping system. They employed memory men, known as yaravecs, whose job it was to memorize everything about everything. Yaravecs held the archives of the Inca kingdom, and their role was passed down through families. On ceremonial occasions they were called up to demonstrate their knowledge, reciting the history of battles, crop yields or Inca lineage."

Dominic Streatfeild

Cocaine: An Unauthorized Biography


"In his book The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years. Chingiz Aitmatov recounts how ancient tribesmen in Central Asia created of their vanquished enemies a new type of human called mankurt, a person without a memory. They would shave a prisoner's head, then wrap it with the warm skin of a camel just slaughtered, and let the skin shrink around the captive's skull as it dried. The enormously painful procedure would have the effect of "squeezing out" the captive's memory. he who survived the torture would then become the most precious of all slaves: devoid of memory, bereft of desires or aspirations, he would obey his masters of his own will, which of course is no will at all. The Mankurt's masters would not have to guard him or guard against him-he would be highly economical and effortlessly maniplable."

Yo'av Karny

Highlanders: A Journey to the Caucasus-in Quest of Memory


Book: The Art of Memory" by Francis Yates

Book: The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers" by Daniel L. Schacler

Book: "Memory: From Mind to Molecules" by Larry R. Squire & Eric R. Kandel

Book: "Memory and Emotion" by James L. McGaugh

Book: "Highlanders: A Journey To the Caucasus in quest of Memory" by Yo'av Karny

© 2001



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