Remember to Forget’ were the words chosen by a poet with Alzheimer as his last statement to the potential million viewers of the documentary ‘First cousin once removed’ by Alan Berliner, which depicts his life in his last months of living with this mental condition, and it is interesting that the words ‘For-Get’ and ‘For-Give’ can be a bit similar, but there’s a world of difference between both, where the act of merely ‘wanting to forget’ can lead us to experience something like Alzheimer, in an attempt to let go of the memories, the identity, the past, the load of experiences with which we created and inflicted the most trauma/harm/abuse within ourselves, and so wanting to forget as a way to ‘cope with the past,’ and that’s how such forced ‘eraser’ move in the mind can lead to this memory-loss problem.
I enjoyed this documentary, it’s very well made and I recommend it to see first hand what Alzheimer is like, and the reasons that usually lead to it, along with the genetic disposition that can exist – which as we now understand how the memories of those that have gone before us are integrated within/as ourselves as the mind in the womb, as the information we have ‘pre-loaded’ within us as the ‘sins of the fathers’ – then it makes sense that Alzheimer can ‘run in the family’ as a trait developed to want to forget about one’s deeds, one’s traumatic past, one’s wrong-doings and essentially take the forced road to a ‘way out’ of it all, a way to not face one’s inner demons.
The documentary could’ve had a subtitle – in the words of the film’s director – a Poets’ Alzheimer, since the documentary is about the ‘first cousin once removed’ from the director of this film who happened to be a poet, a writer, a translator, a man of ‘great achievements’ only to get to the last days of his life forgetting about it all, and it for sure brings us back to this point of our Journey To Life and the route to Nothingness. Edwin Honig – the protagonist of this documentary – gets to such ‘nothingness’ though not in a self-aware and self-directive manner to it and this is what I’d like to discuss here because it doesn’t make sense to get to this point of ‘Nothingness’ as in remembering – apparently – nothing through simply deciding to block the memory, to forget.
The things that Edwin could vividly recall – at times, when it seemed he wasn’t unconsciously deliberately ‘wanting to forget’ – were traumatic moments in his life: being blamed for his brother’s death when he was a child, having been to the army and shooting others, and maybe some family member he was fond of, but that was it. He is shown recordings with traces of the achievements throughout his life explained by himself at an earlier stage in his life, all his books, his poems, his translations of some ‘great writers,’ and so forth, and it was quite amusing to see how he would watch these recordings of himself explaining all his studies, his achievements and saying something in the lines of ‘He’s trying too hard to be someone’ and so yes, this is most of the things we put all our time and effort to, to build up the idea of ‘who we are’ as our mind, our ego – not realizing that life is not memories and how when one has no more memories to ‘hold on to’ then all of these lifetime achievements are reduced to nothing but pretentious additions we identify ourselves as, which can be later on absolutely forgotten and ultimately end up at death. Edwin had kept journals on a daily basis for over 50 years, so he also tried too hard to remember, only to end up forgetting it all. It seems like an ‘overload’ of too many memories, too many things he wanted to keep but eventually forget that he ended up ‘forgetting it all.’
I liked the fact that at some point, due to being asked many questions by the documentary maker (his cousin) he would just ask him to be forgotten, to not exist for some days, weeks, months and so in a way it could be him realizing that he was just telling his-story, the tale we all become as a bunch of memories we then believe is ‘all we are’ which is absolutely limited. We have reduced ourselves to become a curriculum, a data base with memories, experiences, feelings, the ideas we believe others have about ourselves, the feelings and constructs we impose onto reality, our entire ego that we accumulate throughout time, and how when we eventually ‘want to forget’ due to the emotional load that it creates within us, maybe that’s when Alzheimer emerges as an absolute ‘shutdown’ of these memories, which I interpret as a decision to Not Forgive, but Only Forget.
Alzheimer seems to be the result of Forgetting to Forgive, but not only ‘Forgive’ in itself, but to Self-Forgive. It’s interesting that Edwin hadn’t been such a good father after all and how his ‘children’ – now grown up males – hold a grudge against him due to what he would do to them, which they interpreted as abusive, as him being an a*hole. And so, Edwin could not remember at all that he had children/sons, and even when the time comes for one of them to visit him, he shows exhaustion, maybe because memories would come back and so the load of remorse, guilt, the entire emotional experience created throughout time could come back, and so he’s left alone. Alzheimer seems to be a way to evade reality, to evade looking at one’s demons and learning how to self-forgive ourselves for it all, a way to escape from facing self-responsibility and as such wanting to ‘put memories down’ not realizing that the level and extent to which we are tied to as our memories and our mind cannot be ‘shut down’ or these ‘side effects’ emerge.
This is also another way to see how without walking this process of Self-Forgiveness to learn how to recognize our thoughts, words and deeds that could have caused ourselves inner-conflicts and struggles that we eventually lashed out onto others, affecting them and learn how to self-forgive ourselves for it all, bit by bit, word by word, and we only try and ‘forget it all’ causes an illness, because one is attempting to ‘get rid’ of the memories instead of actually understanding how we created such problems, how we participated in them, why, why did we allow it to become an emotional burden, who did we affect with our deeds too, what do we feel incapable of forgiving ourselves for that we instead choose to simply evade and ‘forget’?
And if we were able to remember who we have been from the beginning of our existence, we would have all gone through the same ‘deletion’ process as Alzheimer to go back to ‘ignorance is bliss’ mode, which is in fact what we do whenever we attempt to forget our past, our history and recreate the same abuse and harm because we don’t want to remember and take responsibility for our lives, our world as our creation and change the patterns for once and for all.
It’s interesting that one documentary that shows the actual nature of the memories left in a person with Alzheimer can shed more light than any scientific study attempting to understand the origin of it, which once again is also confirming what has been explained at Desteni in relation to Alzheimer Syndrome which I suggest to anyone to investigate and get rid of these ‘enigmas’ that still exist in humanity, while it’s already been 7 years of having the opportunity to learn about the totality of who we are as human beings, as preprogrammed mind consciousness systems that can create a short-circuit process in order to not have to confront one’s own inner demons all the time, creating things like Alzheimer or the usual anxiety, fears, phobias and general stress that we impose onto our physical body every time we are ‘living’-through-the-mind.
An aspect I enjoyed is seeing how Edwin only expressed appreciation for the expression of a child – the director’s son – because he was a child, expressing himself with music, in the moment, not questioning him about ‘who he was’ or who he could remember, but just being in the moment, which is also another point to consider about this ‘nothingness’ that we can all exist as, as a self-created result of learning how to self-forgive, to correct, to let go within self-responsibility and full awareness of choosing to be living in the moment – which is different from this form of Alzheimer’s ‘living in the moment’ as an accidental result of wanting to evade one’s memory, which is why in this case someone that doesn’t represent a ‘threat’ to one’s self-definition can become someone we enjoy too.
This documentary should also support with the realization that who we are and who we define ourselves to be is nothing else but a collection of memories and experiences that we build up as ‘who we are’ and we indeed put so much ‘effort’ onto it, without realizing that it is only the ‘who we are in the mind’ that we are valuing and accumulating as knowledge and information, while we forget about the words that we can live and become as an essence of ourselves – not the titles, not the money, not the recognition, not the studies, not the professions or definitions that others can give onto us – but the words we decide to live in full self-awareness. Just as the point we hear a lot about in Desteni on ‘stopping the mind,’ it doesn’t mean: forget about who you were and be ‘living in the here now moment’ absolutely oblivious of everything, as if one could simply ‘turn the page’ and have a blank one without any consequence. So if anything, this film depicts the consequences of not being able to cope with our mind, our memories, an entire life of wanting to ‘cherish all memories’ and the outcome when you realize the fiction you’ve become as a character and eventually just want to throw the character out of the window and remain as the flesh and bones we are… that’s what creates the consequence as a forced de-egofication process.
I am able to relate to the idea of wanting to cherish every moment as the ‘old me’ that was on my way to do that all the time, and having that mentality of wanting to be a writer someday that could use those memories to create more fictional characters through which I could live through as well, and I’m glad I stopped myself, which to myself as my ego it was the same as some form of egocide, because stopping ‘cherishing memories’ – even with the compulsion I had to be taking pictures all the time – I was on my way to fill memory cards and entire notebooks of my own personalities with no direction – which is also the type of writing I was doing before this process, using art as just another way to convolute the perception of who we are as human beings: point-less, self-referenced, self-interested beings seeking this something to ‘fill in the void’ with and ending up in some kind of nonsense with a life wasted in this perpetual ‘search’ which I now see that we all as human beings have, nothing else but the gloom created as the result of separating ourselves from who we really are as life, as the substance that unites us all as one and equal.
Today we discussed about this existential anguish in relation to ‘losing all hope to humanity’ not realizing that I was maybe on my way to creating yet another ‘disorder’ to simply evade facing reality – which we all do one way or another by creating any form of emotion or feeling to make the whole thing turn into a ‘me-myself-I’ experience rather than taking responsibility for the problems we create in our lives and this world and turn it only into a ‘concern’ – and how if I hadn’t discovered Desteni and the ability to Self-Forgive, I would have probably continued down the spiraling road of using art as a way to express this absolute ‘lostness’ that I experienced for great part of my life up to 6 years ago when everything started making sense.
All I can say is that it is quite a relief to no longer be drilling my mind with the usual existential-queries and ‘enigmas’ that used to also occupy my-time here, thinking about time, and death, and memories, and identity, and fictional characters, and this life as a dream and so forth… all of which has existed as part of our philosophy with no concrete realization to simply see the direct reality of it all: we have used our mind to divert our attention from reality, from the actual consequences and physical existence that we tend to cloud or ‘paint with other colors’ through thinking about reality, through ‘feeling’ or ‘becoming emotional’ about it and pondering these energetic flicks as ‘more’ than what life really is.
After the film ended, Alan Berliner had a Q&A session with the audience, and he ended up saying that ‘Memories are the glue to life’ and I couldn’t disagree more as this mentality is what has kept us since the beginning of our existence as human beings tied to a past that we then ‘choose to forget’ proving that we haven’t moved an iota from the very initial problems we were programmed with, just because we have accepted our mind to be ‘who we really are,’ forgetting or not even being aware of what Life really is, which is not and will never be knowledge and information, and memories. Just like in all our devices – memories are nothing but part of the system that enables us to function as clusters of space and time in a disk drive that sometimes gets full and overloaded and requires some ‘rebooting’ because there’s just ‘too much to info to handle,’ and that’s also what Alzheimer seems like.
Memories cannot be the ‘glue of life’ as they are only invisible bits of information we believe is who we are. Life doesn’t require a glue, life is not divided, life is all that is already here that we have separated ourselves from in every moment that we define ourselves as a picture, as an emotion, a thought, a feeling, a memory, all of it part of the masks that we craft and can end up driving us crazy if we continue to overlook the reality and simplicity of who we are here as breathing flesh and bones physical beings that have to now use our memory practically and constructively, to go self-forgiving each thought, word and deed that we’ve acted upon and created in order to ‘forget about who we are’ and as such, not take responsibility for who we are and have become. Look at this world, read the news, talk with people on the streets, look within yourself in your mind and see how this world is our reflection.
Learning how to Self-Forgive is the greatest gift one can give to oneself if one does not want to end up driving oneself absolutely insane, or mentally kaput for not having the courage to stand in the face of ourselves, of our past no matter how ‘bad it may seem or how ‘overwhelming’ the consequences of it already are, there is no other way but to stand up for it and face it. Self-Honesty takes Courage and that’s something one has to develop in order to not end up mentally ill due to wanting to forget. My suggestion is to then do this: learn how to Self-Forgive, Remember to Self-Forgive instead of compounding the inner turmoil and the cowardice to recognize who we are and have become, not only as individuals, but as humanity – and so, whenever we see ourselves feeling guilty, ashamed, embarrassed, overwhelmed by our past, our memories, our mind, it is that moment where instead of remaining in the victimization of the experience: we stand up, take a deep breath and decide to self-forgive the experience, the memory, the thought, the deeds and correct ourselves in the moment in the realization that no one did this to us but ourselves, and no one will ‘forgive us’ as there is no God, but ourselves, our own creators.
The one last mercy we can give to ourselves is Self Forgiveness, let’s use it and become physical living breathing beings that can stop pondering too much about what life, death, a thought or memories are and rather learn how to live in every moment of breath directing our lives to be and become an example of what we all know we can be when correcting all the mess of the past to stand as self-directive and self-honest individuals, always considering what is best for self and all as equals: no memory required but only as a remembrance of a past to never repeat again.
To learn more about Desteni’s perspective on Alzheimer and Memories:
- and more here