Humans have wanted to remember since the beginning of time. They remembered on walls with drawings. They remembered on words with paper. And now most often today they remember with images. Thousands of them. Stored in clouds, phones and hard drives. I was driving down a busy street and I counted 10+ people capturing images of the mundane on their phones. No weddings or significant events, just pictures of friends in front of buildings. Kids playing in a fountain. A glass of wine at dinner.
So why? What’s the human desire behind remembering?
For me it boils down to this, time is the only thing in life that we can’t get more of. It can never be increased which drives the notion of scarcity. You will never have more time than you do right now. The last minute you spent reading this article is something you will never have again. Ever. Time is constant and fleeting.
It is amazing how at odds we are internally. We are constantly waiting, hoping and searching for the future. I’ll be happy when. I’ll be happy if. Future future future. At the same time this narrative plays out, we cling to each moment (obsessed over capturing it perfectly) while simultaneously wishing to throw it away for a better future. A different newer moment where we will finally be fulfilled.
Photos, words, drawings are attempts to freeze time, even if it devalues the present time by going back. I feel the pull and desire to remember almost greater than I do to insert myself in the present moment. In the now-ness of life. Because if I don’t take a picture or write about it, maybe I will forget, and then maybe my fleeting life will have been just that, fleeting.
If we go back to remember and we go forward to hope, what are we going to do now?
Photo by Jovanna De La Peña Joyner