Our memories of the past are an essential part of who we are, serving as databases of ourselves. The recollected elements of life shaped who I was, am and will be in the future. As a result, we can’t just wish away the value of remembrance like we can any wallpaper that provides a little backdrop for ourselves. Memories are alive and free, yet they may still be horrifying mental representations that quickly confuse them as they arise. Inappropriately, the knowledge of the memories that come to consciousness may screen or hide the knowledge related to the very fundamental goals we have in life, especially if memory brings into being the negative emotions such as anxiety, hate, guilt, and intolerable desires. That is why we lose people but keep their memories.
Feud discovered that multiple mental representations are distributed over various processing systems in mind, stating that “architectonic principles were responsible for building up superimposed memories” (p.147). Following the distributed nature of the structure of the mind, a person can easily remember and bring to conscious awareness the different features of the memory. The capability of human memory mentioned above can lead to the access of baffling emotional aspects of memories even if one cannot recollect the actual content of the memory. The kind of recall discussed here is common among the patients with neurotic disorders and is unlike the first option of remembering that involves recognizing the content of the past without the emotions. The later recall has no significance to self as such.
The sense of loss is one important thing that is a memory-emotion related aspect of remembering the past. Freud, in one of his studies in child development, established that the first memory organizations that occur in infants base about the presence or absence of feelings and especially the sense of loss (p.148). Later on in life, the concept of memory organization based on feelings is overtaken by the memory groups based on the conceptual forms of knowledge that provide access routes and mental context of sensory-perceptual discontinuous remembrance. The episodic recollection of the experiences of the past represents the consciousness of the past accessed through conceptual knowledge in an organized form, and that which is obtained separately without the feelings or emotional dimension. Most importantly, disrupting the interaction between cognitive content and feelings result in abnormal cognitive states, and that is what happens when one tries hard to remember something of the past when there is nothing in the memory to remember. It is, therefore, easier to remember the departed loved ones because that is the basis on which the mind develops.
One who suffered a loss of their loved ones can still remember them after the process of repression because the process only turns away the pain of loss while keeping it at a distance from the repressed memory. Freud’s concept of repression is not entirely unconscious nor is it quite satisfactory. In essence, the process of repression begins with a person’s deliberate effort to put away grief from their mind and to stop thinking about his loss (p.148). The process is a normal one as nearly everyone who loses his loved one would want to forget about the painful ordeals involved during the time of loss. Additionally, psychotherapists, who call the repression process cognitive avoidance, have used retrieved memories of painful experiences in the past to help clients come to terms with their trauma. We can remember the people we have lost but keep their memories because it is possible to reconstruct the previous state of consciousness even from early as at infancy; however, when remember we do not correctly restore the last moment of consciousness. That realization has an interesting and significant impact on the understanding of the human memory (p.149). On the other hand, the people’s ability to reconstruct the past has been of great help when it comes to relieving of post-traumatic disorders. Such patients undergo intense flashbacks of the traumatic moments they went through in the past, and from the analysis of such memories, the psychologists help the patients.
In conclusion, Memories of our pasts are an integral part of us which act as databases of self. The remembered elements of life constraint what self was, is and can be in future. The sense of loss is one important thing that is a memory-emotion related aspect of remembering the past. It is, therefore, easier to remember the departed loved ones because that is the basis on which the mind develops. One who suffered a loss of their loved ones can still remember them after the process of repression because the process only turns away the pain of loss while keeping it at a distance from the repressed memory. Freud’s concept of repression is not entirely unconscious nor is it quite satisfactory. Feud discovered that multiple mental representations are distributed over various processing systems in mind, stating that “architectonic principles were responsible for building up superimposed memories.”
Freud, Sigmund. “Remembering, repeating and working-through (Further recommendations on the technique of psycho-analysis II).” Standard edition 12 (1914): 145-156.