i never 'forget' things, it's more that not everything is consciously accessible to me all the time. like in a dream: there're things you know when awake you might not know in a dream and vice versa. the horizon has moved

memory functions as a network of associations. shared aspects — which might be anything: a sensory impression, a thought, an emotion — link them together, triggering one to be recalled when we retrieve another, and the more a given connection is traversed, the stronger it grows (and since memories somewhat constitute each other, this does mean they change every time we remember them, or adjacent ones. maintaining them unchanged is another form of recollection)

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pathways of recollection might become temporarily or permanently inaccessible to our conscious mind, yet still retrievable when something unexpected happens to activate a disused, but still strong, association (as in proust and the madeleine). one way to look at it is that the habitual space of our conscious has drifted away: the memories are still there, only, as it were, beyond the horizon

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'true' forgetting, insofar as it exists, would be the connections wearing out completely. the cluster of memories might still be there, but unreachable, only perhaps exerting some kind of a residual pull on other memories (a lot of early childhood memories are in this state)

this all is more or less mainstream psychology

what's interesting to me is how there seems to be a strong link between memory formation and self-awareness. sāṃkhya and yoga consider the same mental function, the ahaṃkāra, responsible for forming both the ego and memories (this ties into how investment in prakritic events — 'i did this', 'i experienced that' — tie beings into saṃsāra)

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in terms of the associative theory of memory, we might think that self-awareness — that is, the experience of existing as a being — is more or less omnipresent, and therefore provides a universal pathway of sorts for recollection. when there's discontinuity in self-awareness — as occurs in sleep or other altered states — there's also a discontinuity in memory

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but even outside outright altered states, our level of self-awareness fluctuates. according to gurdjieff, most people in fact aren't aware of themselves most of the time (he calls this 'forgetting yourself', also explicitly linking self with recollection); we don't notice this, because every time it occurs to us to ask, we necessarily already are aware. 'remembering yourself' is the process of habituating yourself to asking this question more and more

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this is like lucid dreaming: one technique of getting there is trying to 'seed' your dreams with some trigger (seeing your own hands is a common one) by thinking it as you're falling asleep; then, when it occurs, it hopefully shocks you into lucidity. and within dreams, lucidity tends to correlate with recall

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a practical technique: to remember something well, try to recollect yourself. take stock of your surroundings and whatever you want to remember, and affirming your being there. i do this sometimes and my experience is it tends to produce extremely strong, clear, and easily recallable memories

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@horsefucker_thicc my understanding of memory research is that memories are even more unstable than this picture suggests; the nature of remembered events change significantly over the course of a person's life

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