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Monday, 27 November 2017

Forget About It

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;] | by www.bawgaj.eu /Brighton now/

;] Mongolia 2011; delta 100 [Mongolia] "Independence is happiness." - Susan B. Anthony: photo by Strzemek Przelecki, 19 November 2017

Samuel Johnson: On the Uses of Forgetfulness

Men complain of nothing more frequently than of deficient Memory; and indeed, every one finds that many of the ideas which he desired to retain have slipped irretrievably away; that the acquisitions of the mind are sometimes equally fugitive with the gifts of fortune; and that a short intermission of attention more certainly lessens knowledge than impairs an estate.

To assist this weakness of our nature many methods have been proposed, all of which may be justly suspected of being ineffectual; for no art of memory, however its effects have been boasted or admired, has been ever adopted into general use, nor have those who possessed it, appeared to excel others in readiness of recollection or multiplicity of attainments.

There is another art of which all have felt the want, tho' Themistocles only confessed it. We suffer equal pain from the pertinacious adhesion of unwelcome images, as from the evanescence of those which are pleasing and useful; and it may be doubted whether we should be more benefited by the art of Memory or the art of Forgetfulness.

Forgetfulness is necessary to Remembrance. Ideas are retained by renovation of that impression which time is always wearing away, and which new images are striving to obliterate. If useless thoughts could be expelled from the mind, all the valuable parts of our knowledge would more frequently recur, and every recurrence would reinstate them in their former place.

It is impossible to consider, without some regret, how much might have been learned, or how much might have been invented by a rational and vigorous application of time, uselessly or painfully passed in the revocation of events, which have left neither good nor evil behind them, in grief for misfortunes either repaired or irreparable, in resentment of injuries known only to ourselves, of which death has put the authors beyond our power.

Philosophy has accumulated precept upon precept, to warn us against the anticipation of future calamities. All useless misery is certainly folly, and he that feels evils before they come may be deservedly censured; yet surely to dread the future is more reasonable than to lament the past. The business of life is to go forwards; he who sees evil in prospect meets it in his way, but he who catches it by retrospection turns back to find it. That which is feared may sometimes be avoided, but that which is regretted to-day may be regretted again tomorrow.

Regret is indeed useful and virtuous, and not only allowable but necessary, when it tends to the amendment of life, or to admonition of error which we may be again in danger of committing. But a very small part of the moments spent in meditation on the past, produce any reasonable caution or salutary sorrow. Most of the mortifications that we have suffered, arose from the concurrence of local and temporary circumstances, which can never meet again; and most of our disappointments have succeeded those expectations, which life allows not to be formed a second time.

It would add much to human happiness, if an art could be taught of forgetting all of which the remembrance is at once useless and afflictive, if that pain which never can end in pleasure could be driven totally away, that the mind might perform its functions without encumbrance, and the past might no longer encroach upon the present.

Little can be done well to which the whole mind is not applied; the business of every day calls for the day to which it is assigned; and he will have no leisure to regret yesterday's vexations who resolves not to have a new subject of regret tomorrow.

But to forget or to remember at pleasure, are equally beyond the power of man. Yet as memory may be assisted by method, and the decays of knowledge repaired by stated times of recollection, so the power of forgetting is capable of improvement. Reason will, by a resolute contest, prevail over imagination, and the power may be obtained of transferring the attention as judgment shall direct.

The incursions of troublesome thoughts are often violent and importunate; and it is not easy to a mind accustomed to their inroads to expel them immediately by putting better images into motion; but this enemy of quiet is above all others weakened by every defeat; the reflection which has been once overpowered and ejected, seldom returns with any formidable vehemence.

Employment is the great instrument of intellectual dominion. The mind cannot retire from its enemy into total vacancy, or turn aside from one object but by passing to another. The gloomy and the resentful are always found among those who have nothing to do, or who do nothing. We must be busy about good or evil, and he to whom the present offers nothing will often be looking backward on the past.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784): The Idler no. 72, Saturday, 1st September 1759

night | by Andrea Schuh

night: photo by Andrea Schuh, 24 November 2017

Selfish Gene#2 | by herr_muell

Selfish Gene #2: photo by herr_muell, 29 October 2017

Selfish Gene#2 | by herr_muell

Selfish Gene #2: photo by herr_muell, 29 October 2017

Selfish Gene#2 | by herr_muell

Selfish Gene #2: photo by herr_muell, 29 October 2017

Lochaline Pier, Ardtornish. Highlands of Scotland. | by Paul Greeves

 Lochaline Pier, Ardtornish, Highlands of Scotland: photo by Paul Greeves, 5 November 2017

6-DSC02609 | by Paulo J Moreira

6-DSC02609 [Porto]: photo by Paulo Moreira, 26 October 2017

Tiergarten Berlin | by elisachris

Tiergarten Berlin: photo by elisachris, 2 July 2017

Tiergarten Berlin | by elisachris

Tiergarten Berlin: photo by elisachris, 2 July 2017

Tiergarten Berlin | by elisachris

Tiergarten Berlin: photo by elisachris, 2 July 2017

Riley | by philipgreene

Riley [Guilford, CT]: photo by Philip Greene, 22 November 2017

Riley | by philipgreene

Riley [Guilford, CT]: photo by Philip Greene, 22 November 2017

Riley | by philipgreene

Riley [Guilford, CT]: photo by Philip Greene, 22 November 2017

. | by gumanow

Sauvie Island, OR - September 2017: photo by gumanow, 21 November 2017

Adding value to a service, adding money to my account | by FreezerOfPhotons

Adding value to a service, adding money to my account: photo by Graham Young, 23 November 2017

Nice November | by elisachris

Nice November. Museumsinsel Berlin Mitte.: photo by elisachris, 25 November 2017

Nice November | by elisachris

Nice November. Museumsinsel Berlin Mitte.: photo by elisachris, 25 November 2017

Nice November | by elisachris

Nice November. Museumsinsel Berlin Mitte.: photo by elisachris, 25 November 2017

On Sundays I golf. I hate golf. | by FreezerOfPhotons

On Sundays I golf. I hate golf.: photo by Graham Young, 23 November 2017

Untitled | by Cristina De Maria

Untitled: photo by Cristina De Maria, 30 August 2017

ill-at-ease#2("Thank you Satan - I can split myself...") | by herr_muell

ill-at-ease # 2 ("Thank you Satan - I can split myself..."): photo by herr_muell, 30 July 2017

ill-at-ease#2("Thank you Satan - I can split myself...") | by herr_muell

ill-at-ease # 2 ("Thank you Satan - I can split myself..."): photo by herr_muell, 30 July 2017

ill-at-ease#2("Thank you Satan - I can split myself...") | by herr_muell

ill-at-ease # 2 ("Thank you Satan - I can split myself..."): photo by herr_muell, 30 July 2017

Brussels, Belgium, November 2017 | by daily-life.photography

Brussels, Belgium, November 2017: photo by Fabrício Santos, 7 November 2017

Brussels, Belgium, November 2017 | by daily-life.photography

Brussels, Belgium, November 2017: photo by Fabrício Santos, 7 November 2017

Brussels, Belgium, November 2017 | by daily-life.photography

Brussels, Belgium, November 2017: photo by Fabrício Santos, 7 November 2017

Devious #15 | by Subhajit Photography

Devious. Kumortali, Kolkata.: photo by Subhajit Naskar, 15 September 2017

Devious #15 | by Subhajit Photography

Devious. Kumortali, Kolkata.: photo by Subhajit Naskar, 15 September 2017

Devious #15 | by Subhajit Photography

Devious. Kumortali, Kolkata.: photo by Subhajit Naskar, 15 September 2017

London | by Sara Nicomedi

London: photo by sara nicomedi, 31 March 2017

London | by Sara Nicomedi

London: photo by sara nicomedi, 31 March 2017

London | by Sara Nicomedi

London: photo by sara nicomedi, 31 March 2017

Untitled | by Sun Lerdrakmongkol

Devious. Kumortali, Kolkata.: photo by Artyt Lerdrakmongkol, 7 November 2017

Little hut | by efo

Little hut [Isafjordur, Iceland]: photo by efo, October 2017

Little hut | by efo

Little hut [Isafjordur, Iceland]: photo by efo, October 2017

Little hut | by efo

 Little hut [Isafjordur, Iceland]: photo by efo, October 2017

20171002_112151-01 | by W. Nantasuk

20171002_112151-01: photo by Wanit Nantasuk, 2 October 2017

20171002_112151-01 | by W. Nantasuk

20171002_112151-01: photo by Wanit Nantasuk, 2 October 2017

20171002_112151-01 | by W. Nantasuk

20171002_112151-01: photo by Wanit Nantasuk, 2 October 2017

Untitled | by Rammy Narula

Untitled: photo by Rammy Narula, 23 October 2017

Untitled | by pratyay

Untitled: photo by pratyay, 20 October 2016

Untitled | by pratyay

Untitled: photo by pratyay, 20 October 2016

Untitled | by pratyay

Untitled: photo by pratyay, 20 October 2016

Untitled | by Nikos Tsitsel

Untitled [Hamburg-Bremen]: photo by Nikos Tsitsel, 30 September 2017

Sit and Wait For Me. | by david grim

 Sit and Wait For Me [Sharpsburg, PA]: photo by David Grim, 9 November 2017

Sit and Wait For Me. | by david grim

 Sit and Wait For Me [Sharpsburg, PA]: photo by David Grim, 9 November 2017

Sit and Wait For Me. | by david grim

 Sit and Wait For Me [Sharpsburg, PA]: photo by David Grim, 9 November 2017

;] | by www.bawgaj.eu /Brighton now/

;] ethiopia 2017, kentmere 1600. “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese: photo by Strzemek Przelecki, 22 November 2017

4 comments:

TC said...

John Prine & Mac Wiseman: I Forgot To Remember To Forget

Tom Palmer said...

Beautiful essay by Dr. J., Tom. Should get that final paragraph tattooed on my forearm, Momento style. And David Grim has it going on for Western Pennsylvania's often forlorn, damp and almost well-lighted places. His pictures make me wanna go play the numbers. Just for something to do!

TC said...

"We must be busy about good or evil, and he to whom the present offers nothing will often be looking backward on the past."

I bow down before this essay.

Tom, I am keeping an eye on your old bailiwick (as it were) by keeping an eye on David Grim's work, and feeling it... those numbers keep coming up that way for me too.

Tom Palmer said...

I know. I’m humbled. Thanks. Love Blonox!