Toni Morrison, the Nobel Laureate, wrote, “At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint it or even remember it. It is enough.”
My gut says Ms. Morrison is right, especially because she is writing particularly about beauty. And beauty is a good thing. But is it ever okay to forget life’s suffering?
I confess that there is a greed in me that is desperate to remember everything, beautiful or not. After all, I believe that everything in life can serve as either an example or a caution and therefore it is all useful, if not now, then soon.
If we forget, how then can we learn? This is especially true about life’s terrible moments, for experience is often the most effective teacher.
In a quandary, I keep thinking about Ms. Morrison words, and I come to understand something essential: Moments lived and then forgotten by our consciousness are never lost to us forever. They become a part of who we are, like the air and water that we consume in some way become a part of who we are and can never be separated from us again.
Although a moment can neither permanently empower nor permanently defeat us, as parts of our essence, all moments become part of our history and building blocks for our future. All moments are useful.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about time is that it accommodates all moments, whether any one of us humans remember them or not.