The Art of Forgetting

“262. Know how to forget, even though it’s more luck than art. Matters best forgotten, are those best remembered, for memory plays the villain by forsaking us when we need her most, and the clown, by appearing when we would see her least; in all that gives pain she is most lavish, and in all that might give joy, most niggardly; at times the only remedy for an evil lies in forgetting it, and to be able to forget is the remedy; wherefore, train your memory to these comfortable manners, for she can bring you heaven, or hell: those self-satisfied are of course excepted, for in their state of innocence, they are already rejoicing in the happy state of feeble-mindedness.” — The Art of Worldly Wisdom

I think a good tool in learning how to forget is forcing myself to change as a person. That way, when I retrieve a memory, it’s difficult to relive it first-person. As I recreate the experience, my mind says, “Well, I totally would do this instead of that.” The person I am now and the person I was then become two separate entities. Preferably, the younger version of me seems alien — someone whose thought patterns are drastically different and hard to imagine.

Instead of these being my own memories, they become events that happened to someone else. It is like recalling what happened to a historical figure.

I should think of an example to make this less abstract, but I’m too tired. I’ll sleep now.

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