Photos capture a slice of a moment.
However, be warned, too many people confuse the moment in a photo to be reality. The past to a Taoist is an illusion. The fish in this picture is long gone. It has decomposed and now is remixed into the world as a new form. Don’t let photos of the past hold you back from the new realities of today.
A photograph represents a moment, timeless, an expression of the universe to enjoy but not to embrace. If a person embraces a photo as the past, as a memory to hold on to as an actual moment of now. Then that photo will be as amber. Amber that traps the fly to be forever fossilized to the past.
One nice thing about the computer age: it brings home how photos are not reality. In the digital age, everything can be edited to reflect any reality, to the point, that reality itself is now in question.
Seeing is not believing in the modern digital age.
Pushing Our Memories to Digitial
We are all connected indeed, and we often tether ourselves, our memories, to our wonderful new little devices. Of course, those devices are usually far more public, traceable, trackable and not as private as would we think.
People tend to think of themselves as their memories; I often teach to hold a few key memories but let the rest drift naturally away. If this is the case why hold on to every memory and tidbit if such past information is more and more useful against you than for you?
As we augment ourselves, increasingly so: especially in terms of memory enhancement devices, wouldn’t it be more practical to store general information in such devices and leave the private items to our minds?
It’s a question of how the devices are used: since “smart” phones are becoming a vast collector bin of every aspect of our nature.
The following thought comes to mind:
So ponder this: Why snapshot an entire personal life away to store into some device?
If we are truly immortal within our lives as Taoism and other schools of thought propose, then there is no need to fear losing memories in the larger sense. It almost seems the real reason to store such vast information away is to ironically share it more easily with others: which is exactly what happens when basing an entire lifestyle on such electronic devices. “Smart” phones are becoming the modern interchange to the collective conscious. A cloud of information that can be consulted and requested to provide much-hidden secrets about each user.
So, in the end, I have no problems with any of these privacy issues, since it’s a personal choice of lifestyle. The more one relies on networked devices for personal information, the more public a person becomes. It’s no mistake that some leaders are those who are taking the most proactive role in not using such devices, for this very reason.
The next decade is going to be very interesting to watch as people sort out this “personal” balance.
What is a memory?
This question is more delicate and important than most people realize. Without much thought, many people define themselves as “memories”. Memories are not “fact” nor do they represent “absolute truth”.
Memories are more of a special story that we hold onto to help shape the world and ourselves with.
Memories are often something which is outside a person’s experience; humans soak up memories from others to share and embrace. This, in turn, allows a social framework to get woven. These shared “memories” allow people to create very tight bonds and cement together a culture.
The important point is that memories surf across humanity, we can pick up memories outside of our life and take them in, to either extend our nature or diminish our nature depending on the actions we take based upon those memories.
In Taoist practice we teach this, we can transmit memories from one person to another person. It’s a core part of our training in lineage base Taoist practices. Again nothing too outlandish in this statement, most religions use books or oral traditions for this purpose also.
However, memories are like electricity in nature and they conduct across humanity.
As a result each one of us picks up many stray memories that come from outside our own set of experiences and this expands who we are.
At some point, as a person, it awakens a sense of identity to be larger than single body hacking out a single shape for itself based solely on my own experiences. I can look at myself and examine memories from other centuries and open up to deeper wonders. This doesn’t diminish my nature nor does it replace my nature… it is to see myself as larger than just “Casey.”
Memories are an extension of our nature.
And if memories are all a story, then what matters is not how we define those memories as “truth.”
What make’s a difference is how we chose to learn from each story we take into ourselves and how we live and create new memories to share with others later.
Memories as a Snapshot of Life
Memory is an internal photograph. Thinking memories define you is an illusion. Actions define life at the moment. To overly embrace the past is to erode away your present life in the now.
I was just talking to an old friend. We were comparing how different our memories were at a few points in our life. Each of our memories being so different, and the way we reacted to those memories took us on vastly different paths.
We all have selective memory
To think we are our entire past is a lie. The way any of us remembers the past is always a shadow of what we were and are in the now.
In Taoism, this is very important for we live in the now. If we hold on to the past too tightly, we limit our future. It prevents us from embracing new opportunities in the now.
In truth, we all hold on to a few memories, the ones which support us to live gracefully and towards a better path.The trick is not to hold on too tightly
What matters to me, is how my friend taught me much, how she was and is a guiding spirit for me to live better.
All else, all other memories: are shadows in a play, much like shadow puppets in Bali. Something to smile at and learn from, but not to delve or live within for too long. Otherwise, we get lost.
Musing Upon My Birthday – August 2008
Birthday day for me today, and not a day over 93 I might add.
How old is a person?
I have personal memories that go back 93 years to post world war one, does that make me that old?
How many lives does a person have to pay back for the sins of the father, grandfather and beyond?
How old are the atoms of my body, so ancient as old as the dust that swirl about my toes and feet?
Still fresh from the sixties as a babe?
By what we hold dear?
A mind might hold at the most 7 to 10 years of cumulative memories before they fade to be replaced by other ideas and histories. We think we are one continuous being, but how many nows adds up to be a year or a lifetime.
Just one I think.
Our nature is always ephemeral at best.
Age is a very serious business for a Taoist, in that we are ageless and yet people insist on being defined by what cannot be held at all in their hands. Silly silly silly isn’t it?
Back to counting lucky geckos, writing up various reports to keep societies running, talking to mongooses and teaching Brisamina how silly humans can be when being adults.
Memories Past Gone
In the roof’s rain gutter.
Remembering Kate, how we chatted, bantering around.
Hell, I even asked her to marry me, and…
Now I barely remember much else.
The memories have tumbled down, away.
Like those of another, and…
I can’t even remember her name.
While still remembering:
Her favorite orange sweater.
Her asking me a question that changed my life.
Our eating Thai at lunch, and then…
A farewell hug at the street corner.
I can’t even remember her name.
It rains: life moves as rain.
Slowly washing down, deeper into the grounding past.
I watch others: carcasses eaten alive by memories, by the past.
Discovery is to wash away.
Letting roots compost memories.
Alive is not being suffocated in amber.
It’s the growth of changing, and…
Casey Kochmer Jan 2007