Humanism and memory

I’ve been remembering events from my past and I’m constantly amazed by how memory works and how convoluted the process of remembering is.
I must have been maybe 3 years old, I remember eating potato crisps on the beach and when I opened the bag there was a paper twist of salt in the bag. I was standing on a pebbly beach in Bangor, Northern Ireland undoing the paper twist of salt my bare feet twisted over the stones on the beach and smelt chippy vinegar. I was sharing the bag with a girl called, if memory serves me rightly, Anne.

My family were staying at a beach side guest house, Anne lived there and we were new friends.
I don’t really remember much except that Anne had a Corgi, yep a Queen’s type Corgi. In a small tin she had her dog’s docked tail nestled in cotton wool and shrivelled into a dark wisp of hair and bone.

I don’t remember if it smelt but I was shocked to learn that they put rubber bands on puppies tails and the tail ends dropped off. I put a rubber band around my finger at breakfast the next day and by the time I’d finished the honey smacks my finger was throbbing and I took the rubber band off.

My attitude to Anne and her Corgi was sullied but still I must have remembered the day because when I was 9 I campaigned to get a dog and pushed for a Corgi if I remember rightly I used the line, “Let’s get a dog like the Queen.” I figured that line would work with my Royalist conservative parents and it did. We got a Corgi called it Sandi and it became a snappy waddler who only obeyed my mother, the most loyal Royalist in Suburban Melbourne.

I told this story to a friend a long time ago and she immediately conceived of me as being a politically conservative little bunny and god bless her she still was my friend. I personally would be questioning a friendship with someone who, as part of their philosophy and value system, had an attitude that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society, the capitalist survival of the fittest. I personally support grass roots personal change, social support for those who need it and the full force of medical and educational roles in producing a society that is collective, supports individual creativity and free thought.

One evening the subject came up. My friend came from a chaotic leftist family and thought that my conservative background had mediated who I now am. Although that is true and you can’t escape your first family influence you can become a very different animal as time, education and experience dictate. She was surprised by my leftist background. Still in the present context I think our current government is conservative and rather than align myself with a political party I might characterise myself as a Humanist:

I really believe that people can change and that education and intelligent inquiry in any form is the key. Yoga is a humanist philosophy that is why I relate to it so strongly. I want to propose a philosophy group to perhaps examine some of the advice afforded by yoga texts such as, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Gheranda Samhita or Hatha Yoga Pradipika. If you are interested please let me know and we can organise a monthly meeting starting in March 2012.

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