Thoughts on Thinking

"When somebody persuades me that I am wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?" John Maynard Keynes

"If you're unhappy with your life, change your thinking." Charles Fillmore

"The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it." Eckhart Tolle

"People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them." Epictetus

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates

"Consciousness is a terrible thing to waste." PunditGeorge

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


The other day I was perusing Neoneocon,, one of my favorite blogs, and she posted a previous muse of earliest memory – the first clear memory from childhood. An interesting subject to be sure, but I was especially taken with a reader’s comment about her own first memory – that of sitting on a training potty in the bathroom and her mom sitting on the edge of the bathtub. That memory is sharp enough, but the reason that memory was retained is that it was the first time the toddler noticed that she and her mom were two different people.

That rang a distant bell within me. Not the potty bit, but hazy recollections of learning the nature of this experience – three dimensions with everyone/everything separated by space. The implication is that the realm from which the infant arrived was connected; a sort of unified whole.

Neoneocon’s commenter noted that the experience was both scary and fascinating. Indeed, someone only a year or so into this life experience would have a lot of adjusting, beginning with “how do I get this body thing to work?” And, the surprises of noticing how the body-thing works.

I’ve pondered the nature of memory on occasion and, like many, have sorted the earliest recollections of actual memory from recall of photographs or oft told tales. The latter can conjure a mental image just as clear as the former.

There is often an element to a memory that hints, I think, of how memories are created and held. A number of years ago I made a casual survey of memory by asking agreeable folk to take a memory, any memory. Once the memory was active I asked about the event/scene. In most cases the person described a location and event, that is, a description of a place, time, and others present. What was curious was the picture of the person in the scene. That is, the “camera” point of view tended to be above and slightly removed from the event, thus capturing the person in the moment.

What garnered my attention about this type of memory was that if memory were a cellular replay of a physical sensory moment, then the point-of-view should be that of the person – the location of the senses. The more omniscient vantage of many actual memories suggests something else in play.

That something else may be linked with the connected realm the infant leaves in the first years following birth. Many people believe that the soul, supreme energy source, that animates the physical body is but a small portion of the more complete and total Self. That Self is conscious of both the physical experience and the other realm while the portion inhabiting the body is (usually) unaware of its total existence. For an infant having a still active knowledge of Self, the first notice of separation (and that Mom or Dad is someone else and not me) can be unsettling. And, exhilarating.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments welcome. You know the etiquette.