Living Creatures with Memory
Now that we have explored all the discussions above, it has perhaps become clear to us that memory, particularly human memory, plays an important role in sparking off the various ideas concerning the presence of time.
Let’s make a quick review of the whole observation.
· Until today the majority of the world population still believe in the presence of such sequential divisions of time as “the past,” “the present,” and “the future.”
· As it turns out, however, the ancient people had too already known this sequential division of time long before the time scale was invented.
· It was for the purpose of dividing condition that the time scale was invented. Thus the time scale—whether the ones invented in the days of old, such as the sun-dials, or those we have today, such as the clocks and the watches— were invented on the basis of the “changing condition.”
· With our awareness that the division of time into the three sequences has in fact been a result of our having memory—which has thus caused every “past condition” to be recorded in our brain—we are consequently made to realize that it is actually “condition” that plays a role.
· Thus, even though we may keep uttering such expressions as “the past time,” “the present time,” and “the future time,” yet in our acceptation of these terms we can actually consider “time” to be “condition.”
· With our awareness that it is our possession of memory that has caused us to get to know such things as “the past condition,” “the present condition,” and “the future condition,” we subsequently have these questions to ask: Are these three conditions something that only living creatures, man in particular, experience? Do the rest of the contents of the universe have such experience?
Let’s now ponder these questions, which seemingly imply that two major factors also play a role here: the “memory” and “the feeling of existence.”
In man, who has both “memory” and “feeling of existence,” there is obviously nothing to doubt. The illustration below depicts how the “something” comes into contact with the “trace” during the process of recalling. The first of the three figures in the upper row shows the external condition—represented by the black dot at the tip of the arrow—recorded in our brain as memory. The second figure in the same row shows the course taken by the “something”—represented by tangled thread-like line—in its “search” of “a trace” in the form of memory.
Because man has “the feeling of existence,” he thus feels that he “remembers,” as soon as the two come into contact. But seen from the outside of his body, however, he himself never experiences the three conditions.
All man’s physique and brain undergo is but a “change of condition.” As illustrated above, right from his first condition through to his third condition what occurs to him is only a change of condition.
But for a man who is in a state of recalling something—being able to do so because he has the “feeling of existence”—all he feels is that he “remembers” his past, which consequently leads him to believe that “the past condition.” do exist. This occurs not only to human beings but also to all other living creatures having memory.
Once you hurt a dog, for instance, the animal will immediately run away in fear the instant it sees you again. Is not such a reaction of the dog proof enough that it actually remembers the bad experience that it did once have with you?
Does this not imply that the instant it sees you it automatically recalls the impression of its painful past condition? Certainly the ability of animals to recall things varies from one to another.
It is necessary to emphasize here once again that man thinks that “the past condition,” “the present condition,” and “the future condition” exist only because “the feeling of existence” and “the memory” he has make him feel so.
The fact is that whatever events he experiences, including the one he recalls, are but a “change of condition” in either his body or his brain.