Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

We are eager to forget and eager to move on

Now that the Dutch corona restrictions are coming to an end, people are (very) eager to forget and (very) eager to move on. Nightclub tickets were sold out despite violating the rules (eg, AD). At their age, people view death as an unlucky coincidence rather than an imminent certainty. I’m somewhere in between.

Some people assume that our social codes (eg, embrace, handshake, kisses on the cheeks) will have ended (eg, Aeon 2020 essay). I do not believe that at all. I assume that we are all eager to forget and eager to move on. Life is all about our social codes. Without these, it feels as if we are strangers – again.

“Is forgetting mostly a positive force in human life? On the surface, this seems to not be the case, and people often associate memory loss with frustration in their everyday lives. Yet, forgetting does not have exclusively negative consequences; it also serves valuable, indeed vital, functions.” SAGE Journals

Often, people with traumatic memories (eg, abuse, war) prefer not to speak about these. Northwestern Medicine: “A new study has shown for the first time the neurotransmitter pathways that allow stressful fear-related memories become consciously inaccessible.” Note: bold markings and URL in quote by LO.

I suppose a pandemic is another example of a “stressful fear-related memory”. Hence, it makes (perfect) sense that we are eager to forget and eager to move on.

The arrow of time requires us to make a choice between two priorities in our lives: either carpe diem or memento mori. Some people will stay stuck in the past (eg, mourning). Most people will look forward to the opportunities the future will bring. Hope and Fear are both strong motivators that differ in duration.

A 2019 Psychology Today article gives six reasons In Praise of Forgetting. The fifth is special (to me):

“Forgetting encourages what the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls flow, what Maslow called a peak experience – losing oneself in the activities of the moment. We appreciate the present more fully when we aren’t remembering the past. Forgetting disconnects the intrusion of memory, placing us more in the perceptual moment and pushing away memories that might distract us from the pleasure of appreciating the present.” Note: all URLs in quote added by LO.

Some relevant quotes:

  • Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. Buddha
  • Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it ‘The Present’. Various
  • “I think the secret to a happy life is a selective memory. Remember what you are most grateful for and quickly forget what your not.” A quote from Grace (2008) by Richard Paul Evans (b.1962).
  • “The right to hope is the most powerful human motivation I know.” A quote by Aga Khan IV (b.1936).

Move on Up (1970) by Curtis Mayfield (1942-1999)
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

So hush now, child
And don’t you cry
Your folks might understand you
By and by
Move on up
And keep on wishin’
Remember your dream is your only scheme
So keep on pushin’

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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