April A to Z: F is for Forgetting

By Niall McArdle

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cToday’s post is brought to you by the letter F

F is for Forgetting

imagesWinston Churchill was a poor student at school despite being blessed with a remarkable memory. He memorised – and recited – all 1200 lines of Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome, and decades later could still recall them perfectly.

Stop-Forgetting-A-File-Not-A-PileMemory is a tricky thing. We can’t always trust it as our brains very often play tricks on us.


Ancient poets – and Hannibal Lecter – constructed Memory Palaces to help them remember.


Some things of course should never be forgotten. This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide.


Mind you, maybe remembering everything isn’t so good. Some people are blessed cursed with an inability to forget. This is called Hyperthymesia, and people who have it remember everything. And I mean EVERYTHING.

imagesIn the otherwise so-so Liam Neeson action flick Unknown (it’s like the diet version of  Taken), the late great Bruno Ganz delivers this wonderful truth: “We Germans are experts at forgetting. We forgot we were Nazis. Now we have forgotten 40 years of Communism – all gone.”

In Germany they don’t want anyone to forget the awful legacy of the Nazis. But in trying to make everyone remember, they’ve stirred up a controversy: are they just marking a shameful period of their history or might they be glorifying Hitler?

imagesWe all have things we’d like to forget. I’d like to forget I ever saw Titanic.








3 thoughts on “April A to Z: F is for Forgetting

  1. Great quote from Bruno there Niall.
    As I am now officially one of the older generation, I do find odd things escaping my memory, especially names. One of the reasons that I write so much, is in the effort to keep my thought process active.
    Cheers mate, Pete.


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