Friday, September 11, 2009

Time is No Healer

Time is no healer?! Then what about the early life lessons we got from our parents and elders that with the passage of time, everything would be all right? Was all that wrong? Or am I trying to develop some new concept over here? Well, neither our childhood lessons about the healing property of time are wrong nor I am trying to give some ‘path-breaking’ insights into the realms of philosophy.

We come across so many things, events and incidents in our lives that it’s impossible for our mind to remember everything very clearly and vividly. In fact, what actually happens is that the most important things or say, the present remains in our active mind and the rest of the events which happened in the past get buried in the memory. So, technically put, our mind has an active area which works like the cache memory of any calculating device. And in this area, all the ongoing events and incidents are processed. The rest of our experiences are there in our memory, which works exactly as the hard disk or the storing space of a computer.

So, as time passes by, the events which happened in near past keep getting stored in our memory and recent events occupy our active mind.  And since we think and act according to what goes on in our active mind, we tend to forget our past memories. But those memories remain with us and give as much sorrow or joy as the original experience once we try to recall them. And this is the reason, looking at our childhood photographs brings smiles on our faces and fills our hearts with joy.

As T S Eliot wrote in ‘The Dry Salvages’ (Third poem of Four Quartets):

You cannot face it steadily, but this thing is sure,
That time is no healer: the patient is no longer here.

We feel the same pain if we try to recall about something bad which happened with us in the past. In our present state of mind, the experience might not cause as much pain as it had caused originally but as we try to go back to the past, the pain lingers.

And perhaps this is the reason that even though we have moved eight years ahead of the 9/11 attacks on the United States today, the pain, the sufferings and the fear which it caused still haunt us.  We still feel horrified thinking of that doomed day.

To those who actually experienced the partition of India in 1947, the memories still send waves of fear down their spine. People of Japan have not forgotten the destruction caused by the atom bombs dropped on the country during World War-II. And even today those memories are very painful. The memories of the Holocaust are no less dreadful for the Jews even today.

Anything which happens in this world leaves a permanent impact on the humankind and it’s impossible to remove that episode either from history or from our memories.

So, next time when we try to console anyone saying ‘Everything will be alright with time’, we must stop and check ourselves whether Time would act as the healer or not!!

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