used to remember
a lot more.
“Time is a lot of the things people say that God is. There’s the always pre-existing, and having no end. There’s the notion of being all powerful–because nothing can stand against time, can it? Not mountains, not armies.
And time is, of course, all-healing. Give anything enough time, and everything is taken care of: all pain encompassed, all hardship erased, all loss subsumed.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.
And if Time is anything akin to God, I suppose that Memory must be the Devil.”
Diana Gabaldon in Breath of Snow and Ashes
I found this quote rather profound. Memory being the Devil ascribes evil to our past. Beyond haunting, it implies danger, cruelty and manipulation. Do our memories really do that?
Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory shows up in Grace Awakening Myth. She and Lethe, the goddess of forgetfulness, are working together on Ben to sculpt him just the right combination of memories to keep him optimistic. They work together to keep him whole, because he would not be able to bear contemplating the possibilities opened up by his more painful memories.
I wonder if our own memories often work the same way? If we are successful in burying the negative history, we are re-working our own memory. I suppose it must also work in reverse. We can ignore all our positive experiences and craft ourselves memories of a terrible childhood, and use that strange, inaccurate perspective to fuel our behaviour. We can view ourselves as down trodden over-comers, and use that to force ourselves to deal with current challenges.
Gabaldon’s quote is from Claire’s perspective. Claire has a lot of memories from life in the future and in the past. She has a complex web of memories that she might like to escape.
What do you think? Are your memories an inspiration to your future, or are they a challenge to overcome?
One of the values of learning another language, is the enlightenment it provides to your own language. I have links to an article about this in a previous blog post.
While I’ve been working with Mnemosyne and Lethe this week, I’ve discovered an interesting thing.
In English, the opposite of memory is forgetfulness. In Greek lethe (forgetfulness) is opposed with aletheia (prefix ‘a-‘ making some thing the opposite, remember). Aletheia doesn’t mean memory, it means truth.
I find that very profound. It’s not the concept of a lie that is the opposite of truth in Greek, it’s forgetfulness.
It begs pondering.
I think I can do something with the concept
. I’m not sure what, at this point, but it fits with Ben’s reality, doesn’t it? Lethe has robbed Grace of memory, and it keeps her from knowing the truth.
I suppose this means I’m about to be introduced to the goddess Aletheia. I wonder what she’ll be like? Writing is fascinating business.