memories

Make sure they remember you.

Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

I remember everything about you, you’re the one who wasn’t paying attention.

Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

It feels like a moment I’ve lived a thousand times before, as if everything is familiar, right up to the moment of my death, that it will happen again an infinite number of times, that we will meet, marry, have our children, succeed in the ways we have, fail in the ways we have, all exactly the same, always unable to change a thing. I am again at the bottom of an unstoppable wheel, and when I feel my eyes close for death, as they have and will a thousand times, I awake.

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

You will remember when a bird crashed through the window and fell to the floor. You will remember, those of you who were there, how it jerked its wings before dying, and left a spot of blood on the floor after it was removed. But who among you was first to notice the negative bird it left in the window? Who first saw the shadow that the bird left behind, the shadow that drew blood from any finger that dared to trace it, the shadow that was better proof of the bird’s existence than the bird ever was?

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

What do babies dream of? She must be dreaming of the before-life, just as I dream of the afterlife.

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

Memories are small prayers to God, if we believed in that sort of thing.

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

I was of the opinion that the past is past, and like all that is not now it should remain buried along the side of our memories.

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

And so it was when anyone tried to speak: their minds would become tangled in remembrance. Words became floods of thought with no beginning or end, and would drown the speaker before he could reach the life raft of the point he was trying to make. It was impossible to remember what one meant, what, after all of the words, was intended.

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

The only thing more painful than being an active forgetter is to be an inert rememberer.

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

We will never cease our critique of those persons who distort the past, rewrite it, falsify it, who exaggerate the importance of one event and fail to mention some other; such a critique is proper (it cannot fail to be), but it doesn’t count for much unless a more basic critique precedes it: a critique of human memory as such. For after all, what can memory actually do, the poor thing? It is only capable of retaining a paltry little scrap of the past, and no one knows why just this scrap and not some other one, since in each of us the choice occurs mysteriously, outside our will or our interests. We won’t understand a thing about human life if we persist in avoiding the most obvious fact: that a reality no longer is what it was when it was; it cannot be reconstructed. Even the most voluminous archives cannot help.

Milan Kundera, Ignorance

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