roland@equalpartners.ca
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Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

Memory – IV. The Different Aspects of Human Memory

Memory plays a vital role in human interactions. This being the case, can we determine its different facets? Put another way, just as we use the same tool to do different tasks, and provide examples of what this tool can do, can we do the same thing for our memory? I can think of four broad aspects.

  1. The positive side of human memory.

    This simply means remembering the good done to us and being grateful. It does not necessarily means returning the favor.

    Two years ago, I was hospitalized. My ex-wife had just moved to a rural area, my son was very busy and travelled a lot, and my daughter lived in another city. Does that mean that I was all alone? Not at all. I had two friends who came everyday to the hospital. They brought food, the newspaper, and other reading material. When I was discharged, they took me to doctors’ appointments. They also brought groceries and cooked food. My brother and my sister-in-law came from Montreal twice to help out. My son, despite being very busy, did his share of work. I had at the time two roommates who provided me, when required, with assistance. Finally, the excellent care provided by the staff at the hospital was second to none, and is appreciated to that day.

    It’s unlikely I can return the favor to any of these people. But, no matter. I have in a corner of my memory a shining light. And that’s what makes the positive side of human memory such a beautiful thing.

  2. The negative side of human memory.

    Human nature being what it is, there is unfortunately much more to say on this topic.

    There are still on this planet, in the 21st century, cultures who exact revenge when a member of their family or tribe is killed. “If you spill the blood of my kin, I’ll do the same to you.” The matter doesn’t end there; this new murder now need to be avenged. It’s a vicious circle, and it’s carried out from generation to generation. These people disdain the justice system and take the law into their own hands. You might say that these are primitive and ignorant cultures. Well, that’s even more depressing, for it shows how ugly human nature can be without the polish of education.

    Even within an advanced society, the line between revenge and justice gets blurred. When there is a crime in a community, the police is expected to quickly produce a suspect(s). However, since criminals do not leave behind a calling card, sometimes this can prove difficult. Put under pressure, the police does produce a “suspect.” Often, an innocent person is caught in the wheels of the justice system and has to fight hard to get exonerated – or not.

    Then of course there is grudge. We say that elephants carry a grudge for a long time. But science has found out that elephants have such a phenomenal memory to remember where the water holes are! This is vital knowledge. Without their memories, they wouldn’t have survived as a species. To the best of our knowledge, they don’t use their memory to carry a grudge over many decades. That’s a human specialty, at least for some of us.

    There are friends who haven’t talked with each other for years because of a fight over a long-forgotten incident. There are parents who have been estranged from their children for decades over their choice of mate. Is there ever a good reason to allow hate to prevail where love should reign? Carrying a grudge is toxic to the mind and body. And it is the person who carries it that suffers the most.

    The third category, in relative terms, is more palatable. We can hang on to bad memories from a difficult period in our life, or remember the pleasant aspects of this period. It’s a matter of choice.

    For some 14 years, from the late ’70s to the early ’90s, I suffered from depression. My wife was even sicker. I wonder today how I was able to hold a demanding professional job. I question how our children were affected only to a limited extent. They were adolescents, this was the period of their lives when they needed their parents the most.

    In 1993, I fell into a deep depression and was hospitalized. I was put on one of the new (SSRI) antidepressant. It did wonders for me and I have been well ever since.

    Today, when I think of this period, do I have good, bad, or a mixture of good and bad memories? Only good memories are left. And there was a lot of that.

    I remember the ’80s as a time of laughter, of music, of expanding our horizons, and above all, of being enveloped in the warm embrace of spirituality.

    Our family has a wonderful sense of humor; we laughed a lot when we were well. Depression is cyclical, therefore, not all days were dark.

    In the ’70s, we discovered the classics. Over a period of some 15 years, we listened to countless symphonies, concertos, etc. We listened to some 50 operas and attended many in Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal.

    In the ’80s, television was becoming more sophisticated. Thus we watched many programs on nature, evolution, the cosmos, etc. We also devoured books. We learned a lot and freely exchanged knowledge with each other. We also had “specialists.” Rita (our daughter) read everything she could find on medicine (including Grey’s Anatomy!) She was the “doctor in the house.” Michael (our son) loved astronomy and had his own telescope. Norma (my wife) was into psychic phenomena and had a psychic gift to boot. During her sleep, she occasionally received visits from the other side!

    In 1982, The Urantia Book came into our life. It transformed us like it has done to all the families who welcomed this wonderful gift to our planet. This book was my specialty. I discussed it at length, first with Norma, and then Rita and Michael. It started the day when they came to me and asked, “tell us daddy, what is the real Adam and Eve story?” Both Norma and I always stressed this admonition from the book: “Nothing is more important than what you are doing right now.”

  3. The neutral side of human memory.

    We’ve all heard stories of doctors who leave a profitable practice and go to Africa to heal the sick. Then there are adolescents who use their spring break or summer vacation to work on a worthwhile project in South America. These people do not know at the onset who they’ll be helping. It’s not like helping a niece in a crisis. There are family bonds and shared memories.

    The actions of these people are pure goodness, but memory doesn’t play a role. So why include it under memory? Because when these Good Samaritans have concluded their work and gone back home, they will have memories. And they will have grown in stature both in their own eyes and in the eyes of their communities. Being at a loss as to how to call it, I used the term neutral.

  4. When memory is gone.

    In 1998, I had major surgery. Within a day after leaving the hospital, the surgical wound got red and itchy. My son took me back to the hospital, and I spent a night there for further treatment. Because the whole thing was unexpected, they could only find a vacant bed in neurology.

    The first thing that greeted me there was a very agitated patient. Since I had been given a sedative, I quickly went to sleep. When I woke up on the following day, the patient was calm and was being fed by a nurse. Later on, two visitors came to see him. They stayed a while and then left. During that time, there was total silence. Neither the patient nor the visitors spoke. Next, another visitor came. Again, total silence. In turn, this visitor left.

    So this is Alzheimer I thought. This is what happened when memory is gone and only a shell is left. There is a silence that crushes the soul; unspeakable mental anguish for family and friends; and a person who can no longer recognize the people he has known and loved during his life.

Article Series - Memory

  1. Memory
  2. Memory – I. Capacity
  3. Memory – II. A Sense of Continuity
  4. Memory – III. Personality Development
  5. Memory – IV. The Different Aspects of Human Memory

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