Where there are memories, there is a person. Where there are no memories, there is no person. Perhaps because most of life is unremembered, memories are described as precious and irreplaceable. We escape burning buildings clutching old photographs, artifactual evidence that we exist. There are numberless black and white images in circulation, floating around in flea markets and other places, even lying on the ground. We look at them, faded and curled, and wonder: Who are those people? According to every cultural convention, a person is a bundle of particulars, a medley of distinguishing characteristics which, if we are among the blessed, will be curated at some later date for an obituary. Now tell me, is this beginning to feel like a rabbit hole? What if we are not persons at all? What if we are nobody in particular?
My name is a small, battered valise. I carry my attachments in it.
As we continue our journey into the Self, we discover that some of our memories have left a scar. The man who was beaten as a boy does not, cannot forget what happened. The inner journey is the path of self-acceptance. Scars and all.
Whatever defines us, confines us. (Put the man without a role on suicide watch.) Our most severe confinement is a self-limitation—the memory-based personality, comprising the habits and preferences of a momentary self.
What I quaintly call “my world” is small, personal and private. It is essentially the same as anyone else’s world, differing only in its details. They are time-bound, these worlds. All we know is what we remember.