What do you believe in? What Emotion do you associate with that?
As a child we are all exposed to influences, our families, our culture, the people we hang around with and much of this rubs off on us. I suspect that we do not think about it consciously.
Until someone asks:
“Okay, sunshine, ‘WHAT Do YOU Believe in?” What Emotion do you like feeling?
I was asked this about a year ago. I am passing it on: I am asking you, in turn.
When I was asked this I did not know, until I really thought about this over a long timeframe. A whole month. It might take you less time to come up with your own answer.
The reason it takes time is that you do not want to make a mistake. Becasue you are going to use the answer to this to help your encoding of memories.
I asked lots of questions: What attracts me in music? In art? In Clothes? In Writing? In people? In places? What themes run through the memorable thing in my life that invoked an emotion?
And I came up with something that surprised me:
I believe in Beauty.
I like finding and feeling that something is beautiful.
It is an emotional thing. And I am drawn to that emotion more than any other: More than the emotions of finding things: Ugly powerful, hateful, unjust, sexy, tasty, comical, sad, happy and all the mixtures of these and every other emotion.
One of the emotions I like above all is: I like beautiful things that make me feel: “That’s beautiful.”
Taken me years to realize this.
The clues were there: What things could I remember with emotion?
I followed the advice to explore things that I remember vividly hearing, tasting, touching, passing through, smelling, being part of, thinking about…. for the first time.
Some examples: Music "The Lark ascending by Vaughn Williams", the first time I saw it being played live and the feeling in the room. Same with "Ave Maria" by Schubert (?!) when played on a violin.
That brought back memories of the same type of emotion when I was a wee boy and my friend and schoolmate James McGinty let me hear an album he had bought: It was by Led Zeppelin. It was on Pink Vinyl, the colour of a “Chewitt” sweet. I did not like Led Zeppelin, that was a band my big brothers listened to, too heavy, too raw, too loud. Not my kind of thing. But my brothers only had the first and second albums. That day James played me Led Zeppelin IV and he put on “Stairway to Heaven”, and hearing the opening chords and overdubbed recorder that for the first time it made a huge impression upon me: It was beautiful. I am not so keen on the song now, but back, it made an impression.
It’s not just music: It’s everything…. First time I ever saw the Greek Islands an emotional experience, and it was beautiful. First time I ever saw Hong Kong at night, first time I ever saw the Milky Way vividly stretching over the sky above me on a warm night in Islay. The first time I was ever rode pillion on a scooter, I remember my cousin Kate took me for a spin on hers.
You don’t forget things with strong emotions: And the emotion of finding something beautiful resonates with me.
So how can I use this?
If I encode (remember "Encode"means to try to put it into my memory so that I can find it again so I can think about it and so I can use the information) things as being so beautiful that they will evoke that feeling of finding something beautiful – I know I will remember it – and if I combine that with other methods such as encoding the memory in a particular place at a particular time and many others such as using a theme and a link and a colour and a number and a taste and a smell and a character – THAT I will remember and be able to recollect forever.