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By Douwe Draaisma

In his hugely praised booklet The Nostalgia Factory, popular reminiscence pupil Douwe Draaisma explored the complicated good judgment of reminiscence in later lifestyles with humor and deep perception. during this compelling new ebook he turns to the “miracle” of forgetting. faraway from being a illness that could point out Alzheimer’s or one other type of dementia, Draaisma claims, forgetting is one in all memory’s an important capacities. actually, forgetting is essential.
 
Weaving jointly an enticing array of literary, historic, and medical resources, the writer considers forgetting from each perspective. He pierces fake clichés and asks vital questions: Is a forgotten reminiscence misplaced eternally? What makes a colleague have in mind an concept yet overlook that it used to be yours? Draaisma explores “first stories” of teenagers, how reports are translated into reminiscence, the controversies over repression and “recovered” stories, and bizarre examples of reminiscence disorder. He movingly examines the effect on own thoughts while a hidden fact involves gentle. In a persuasive end the writer advocates the undervalued perform of “the paintings of forgetting”—a set of concepts that help in erasing thoughts, thereby holding necessary relationships and inspiring own contentment.

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Example text

The determination not to forget becomes an intense desire where memories of deceased loved ones are concerned. We would like to cherish them in such a way as to preclude forgetting. That is the promise contained in letters of condolence. It is also an incantation, a promise to ourselves about our own memories. Conversely, a person forced to depart this life hopes to live on in the memories of loved ones. Disappearing from those memories has been called a ‘second death’. A collection of valedictory letters written in France in the time of the Terror (1793–94), by people who knew they would die the next day, demonstrates how human beings try to find comfort in the thought that those they love will never forget them.

A collection of valedictory letters written in France in the time of the Terror (1793–94), by people who knew they would die the next day, demonstrates how human beings try to find comfort in the thought that those they love will never forget them. The intractability of memory expresses itself in forgetting in two directions. There is no such thing as a forgetting technique. The Greeks bequeathed to us an ars memoriae, but no ars oblivionis, nothing we could use deliberately to forget something.

Forgetting has never been much more than erasure, deletion or disappearance. This reversal of metaphors for memory reinforces our intuition that remembering and forgetting are opposites and therefore mutually exclusive. What people remember has apparently not been forgotten and what they have forgotten they must be unable to remember. Forgetting is the minus sign applied to remembering. But this is an instance of being bewitched by our own metaphors. In reality, forgetting exists within remembering like yeast in dough.

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