“While driving down memory lane, it’s always advisable, if not requisite, to have a passenger in the car – for company greatly eases the blunt blow of nostalgia.” – Jeff Campagna

Memory is a tricky thing. It can be the author of elation or the agent of gloom and depression. From what I can tell with my limited sight and insubstantial experience, there are two types of memories and two forms of reactions – both of which are interchangeable.

There are positive memories and negative memories as well as positive reactions and negative reactions.

Now, usually a positive memory produces a very positive reaction. The beholder is brought back to a time of contentment and satisfaction, when the world and all its spectacle seem to be aligned and balanced and the proprietor seems to fit perfectly in his or her place. They remember positivity and appreciate it in a way that furnishes a positive reaction. This is the best variation of the four possible outcomes.

However, positive memories have a evil cousins, that is, those which provide negative reactions. This is not to say that the memory itself is a negative one, we’ll get to that later; no, this is specifically to do with positive memories generating negative thoughts. This can be caused by many different factors that are quite unique, though oftentimes the reaction is connected to a drastic change in surrounding, environment, status, company or lifestyle. The beholder can look back upon a time or a place, or both, with depressive longing– thus indirectly belittling their current place. Their memory is so great, and their present is so inferior, that a negative reaction is reached from a positive recollection. While not the worst form of remembering, it is by far the most viscous of circles.

On the other side of the coin are negative memories with positive reactions. These are normally quite welcome and often times a result of an active choice to focus on one’s substandard past as a way to remind them of their current luxury. To remember something bad and feel good about it, is to taste the candy which is bitter and sweet at once. It is a pleasurable thing, but a confusing one as well. The beholder can be unsure of which portion is more real, the negative yesterday or the positive today. Though in all the confusion and emotional ping-pong, the proprietor is eventually reminded that they have progressed, conquered, moved on. The bitter-sweet nature of this process makes this form not nearly the best, but not nearly the worst either.

Lastly, the human psyche can often be victim to the dark and dismal phenomenon of negative memories which produce negative reactions. Death, failure, loss, embarrassment, shame and mistake can often be the trigger for such a wretched combination as this. The beholder’s present is no better than their past. They are caught in the maelstrom of adverse memories remembered during adverse times which will no doubt lead to more adverse memories in the near and far future. This is by far the worst possible form of recollection.

The notion of memory is a difficult thing to comprehend, when looking at its entire power and scope, and I doubt that the current human intellect has logic enough to truly make sense of its ravings. However, when the load of memory is shared and its heavy weight distributed between two or more carriers, its unfavorable consequences can sometimes be lessened or avoided altogether. Think of a memory bouncing back and fourth within the beholder’s mind, with no verbal escape or channel, as a man, whose head is cluttered with a million thoughts, pacing a small room with a locked door. Now, if you were to open that door and let that man walk freely throughout his environment, perhaps his head would be ever clearer and might journey to some wonderful and untouched territory.