Forgetfulness and Memory

by maddrunkgenius

Here I sleep.

I don’t remember writing that, but there it is, so I must have. A forgotten event, if it was ever remembered at all. An unrecorded trick of my mind. I don’t even know that it happened, but it must have because it’s there.

As a child I was often afraid of many things, most of them religiously centered. The concept of eternity, really trying to wrap my mind around an eternal existence, still makes me wake up in a cold sweat sometimes. As a kid it was even worse. But I also thought about such things as “What if the entire universe began a moment ago and everything I remember and everything that has happened is an illusion?”

The unfortunate thing about such a question, especially for a child, is that it’s impossible to disprove. Really, it is. There’s absolutely no way of knowing such a things is false, and children need certainty. You just have to say, “That’s not true, it just isn’t.”

Lately the same kind of questions have been creeping back into mind, although not exactly religiously based. If you go back to my very first entry, the conversation with the devil, all it really is is dealing with that question of how much of reality is based on what I know about it. I’m a practical man so I know that reality exists as it is, but in practice I also know my ability to remember things determines a lot of what makes my reality for me.

*re-reads past sentence a few times*

Anyway, I keep remembering things that I know never happened. I keep remembering things I’m not sure happened or not. I’ve lied to others and myself so many times, the lies feel more real than the truth.

A good example is the “crowded hall” story. At my old high school the halls were very narrow and the student population quite overcrowded. At intersections, there would traffic jams and everything would just get stuck all of a sudden, until aggressive young men got fed up with it and began shoving themselves through. One day I was stuck in one of these such jams and had a massive hard on, a holdover from my morning wood, maybe. In front of me was a very attractive girl in a skirt, making it even worse. All of a sudden, the people behind us start shoving, trying to get through and I get pushed up against the girl. Apparently she felt something because she turned to try to see what it was and of course she saw me behind her, just grinning. Apparently she understood why I was enjoying myself because she got this disgusted look on her face and turned back around, but there was nothing she could do. For the next fifteen seconds or so, we were pressed up against one another, then the jam broke up and we went our separate ways.

See that, that is a total lie. Complete and utter fabrication. It never happened, it wasn’t even a fantasy I had. But the traffic jams did happen in the halls and it became a funny story to tell. It was what people expected of me, and I gave it to them. But I’ve told it so much, it seems clear to me. It’s as real as any memory I have.

And then there are all of the other events I have absolutely no recollection of. But they’re real. They happened. As far as it matters to me, they didn’t, but they did. Maybe I get to experience deja vu every once in a while because of them, but they’ve utterly disappeared from existence.

So what about that fake story? Other people think it’s true, sometimes so do I. If enough people imagine a memory to be true, shouldn’t that make it so?