Quotations about memory and memories, from writers and speakers from many times. How reliable is our memory? Are memories happy or sad? Here are some thoughts:

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If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…I’ll always be with you.

— A. A. Milne, Christopher Robin to Winnie-the-Pooh, Pooh’s Grand Adventure

The world will little note nor long remember what we say here.

— Abraham Lincoln

Die when I may, I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.

— Abraham Lincoln

We see daily that our lives are terrible and little, without continuity, buyable and salable at any moment, mere blips on a screen, that this is the way we live now. Memory marketed as nostalgia; terror reduced to mere suspense, to melodrama.

— Adrienne Rich

We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.

— Alan Watts

If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I would walk in a garden forever.

— Alfred Lord Tennyson

And I saw for the first time how, despite the isolation of our own lives, we are always connected to our ancestors; our bodies hold the memories of those who came before us, whether it is the features we inherit or a disposition that is etched into our soul.

— Alyson Richman

You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.

— Anne Lamott

One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.

— Antonio Porchia

Days are scrolls; write on them what you want to be remembered.

— Bahya Ibn Pakud

In time,
everyone fades away,
transfiguring into
echoes that latch
onto our memories
and bleed our hearts dry.

— Barbara Garay

Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Trauma comes back as a reaction, not a memory

— Bessel Van Der Kolk

From attachment comes desire and from desire, anger. From anger comes bewilderment, which brings about loss of memory. From loss of memory comes the destruction of intelligence and from the destruction of intelligence one perishes.

— Bhagavad Gita

You get to choose who you are. Legacy, memories of the past, can serve us well. But we cannot let them define us. When heritage becomes a box instead of an inspiration, it has gone too far.

— Brandon Sanderson, Skyward

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

— Buddha

I do not know if the seasons remember their history or… if the oak tree remembers its planting. I do not know if the squirrel remembers last fall’s gathering or… if the night remembers the moon… Perhaps that is the reason for our births — to be the memory for creation. Perhaps salvation is something very different than anyone ever expected. Perhaps this will be the only question we will have to answer: “What can you tell me about September?”

— Burton D Carley

A trip to nostalgia now and then is good for the spirit, as long as you don’t set up housekeeping.

— Dan Bartolovic

I’m always fascinated by the way memory diffuses fact.

— Diane Sawyer

Not knowing the DNA we carry in our bodies, hearts, and minds. does not negate it. We are an accumulation of many people, even more so when unaware of it. Once aware, we can choose what to carry and what to relegate to history.

— Donna Goddard

Like the other stages of grief, saying goodbye is not as easy as it sounds. Saying goodbye requires us to make our loss a memory.

— Donnie D. Davis, Getting the Axe Without Losing Your Head

Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.

— Doug Larson

Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.

— Elie Wiesel

No self is of itself alone. It has a long chain of intellectual ancestors. The “I” is chained to ancestry by many factors… This is not mere allegory, but an eternal memory.

— Erwin Schrödinger

The men of experiment are like the ant, they only collect and use; the reasoners resemble spiders, who make cobwebs out of their own substance. But the bee takes the middle course: it gathers its material from the flowers of the garden and field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own. Not unlike this is the true business of philosophy (science); for it neither relies solely or chiefly on the powers of the mind, nor does it take the matter which it gathers from natural history and mechanical experiments and lay up in the memory whole, as it finds it, but lays it up in the understanding altered and disgested. Therefore, from a closer and purer league between these two faculties, the experimental and the rational (such as has never been made), much may be hoped.

— Francis Bacon

We never forget things more readily than when we are tired of talking about them.

— François de La Rochefoucauld

You can’t be too careful what you tell a child because you never know what he’ll take hold of and spend the rest of his life remembering you by.

— Frederick Buechner

Blessed are the forgetful: for they get the better even of their blunders.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.

— George Bernard Shaw

What you don’t know may not hurt you, but what you don’t remember always does.

— Gerald M. Weinberg

I look back on my life like a good day’s work, it was done and I am satisfied with it.

— Grandma Moses

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

— H. Jackson Brown Jr., attributed to his mother Sarah Frances Brown

Remembering is a dream that comes in waves.

— Helga Sandbur

People in cities may forget the soil for as long as a hundred years, but Mother Nature’s memory is long and she will not let them forget indefinitely.

— Henry A. Wallace

Above all, we cannot afford not to live in the present. He is blessed over all mortals who loses no moment of the passing life in remembering the past.

— Henry David Thoreau

The past should be a springboard, not a hammock.

— Ivern Ball

Psychoanalysis has taught that the dead – a dead parent, for example – can be more alive for us, more powerful, more scary, than the living. It is the question of ghosts.

— Jacques Derrida

God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December.

— James M. Barrie

Many African societies divide humans into three categories: those still alive on the earth, the sasha, and the zamani. The recently departed whose time on earth overlapped with people still here are the sasha, the living-dead. They are not wholly dead, for they still live in the memories of the living, who can call them to mind, create their likeness in art, and bring them to life in anecdote. When the last person to know an ancestor dies, that ancestor leaves the sasha for the zamani, the dead. As generalised ancestors, the zamani are not forgotten but revered. Many … can be recalled by name. But they are not the living-dead. There is a difference.

— James W Loewen

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.

— Jane Glidewell

The true tomb of the dead is the heart of the living.

— Jean Cocteau

Recollection is the only paradise from which we cannot be turned out.

— Jean Paul Richter

Make yourselves nests of pleasant thoughts. None of us knows what fairy palaces we may build of beautiful thought-proof against all adversity. Bright fancies, satisfied memories, noble histories, faithful sayings, treasure houses of precious and restful thoughts, which care cannot disturb, nor pain make gloomy, nor poverty take away from us.

— John Ruskin

To be able to look back on one’s life in satisfaction is to live twice.

— Khalil Gibran

The older you get, the greater you were.

— Lee Grosscup

No memory is ever alone; it’s at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails that each have their own associations.

— Louis L’Amour

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

— Marcus Aurelius

The beauty of the past belongs to the past.

— Margaret Bourke-White

When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not.

— Mark Twain

There is something terrible yet soothing about returning to a place where you once lived. You are one of your own memories.

— Mary Morris
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