Saturday, May 25, 2013

Father's Day

"To be is to be perceived." - Bishop George Berkeley

Memories are intangible yet powerful. A lot of our actions in the present which shape the future are based on memories of the past. Some of the most valuable things we leave behind in life are the memories we create from our interactions and impact on others. Although memories may seem to fade away, they are part of the continuum of time and existence. What is the present without memories of the past? 

Memories create more memories and therefore never really die. A lot of what we term as instinct may probably be memories somehow hardwired and passed on to us in form of genes. The Scottish philosopher David Hume even goes further to propose that what we actually consider "self" is just a bundle of perceptions and accumulated memories.

The last time I met my father, I remember a statement he made; He told me that "the journey to his destination had become shorter than the distance from the origin". I did not think much of that statement until today. Life is a journey of discovery and the most enjoyable journeys are usually the memorable ones. The journey can be full of pits tops or detours but we all have the same origin and the same final destination.  As fellow passengers on this journey, the best way to make it memorable is to fill each day with moments that will not fade quickly with time. We share this process of discovery with others either by experiencing it with them or recreating them in stories. The best stories are the ones we always remember.

Sometimes the memories we create are sad ones as a result of mistakes. If we are lucky, we live long enough to correct them and replace them with more wonderful ones. If we are luckier, we take from wonderful memories created for us by our parents and recreate even better ones for our children. My father was a lucky one and we are even luckier to have had him in our lives. His memories will continue to live on in us as we try to create even better ones for those God has given to us as gifts.

Maybe David Hume was right in some way and immortality really has to do with sustaining memories of our existence to continue to alter the perception of future generations. As long as perceptions created by us continue to exist, we also live on with them. "May 25th" will always be father's day for me as I remember my duty to keep recreating those memories. Happy Father's Day Dad.

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