Making Connections: Memories & Emotions

Today, on the way into work, I got thinking about how I memorize the route and can drive it without so much as thinking about it. I thought about what would happen if one day I lost my knowledge of the route—how would I get to work? Well, I then deduced that whenever I remember things there is usually an emotion/experience attached to that memory. For instance, I once saw a really beautiful sunrise over one part of my journey (when I used to work early shifts) and I now always think back to that sunrise when I approach it. A little further along on my trip, I once had a car accident on a stretch of road and I’m now always much more cautious when I approach it.

I suppose we all associate emotions with memories, but certain memories we seem to just “throw away” without a second thought. I wonder if our brains would do that if, for example, we spilled coffee down ourselves that day—we’d remember it then. It’s an interesting facet of the human mind and something useful when writing and making characters believable.

I should have Part Two of my fantasy map tutorial up sometime over the weekend.

~ James

Referencing the Past

I got thinking about the difference between an antagonist and a protagonist this morning. The real difference might be in how they ‘reference’ (remember/learn from) the past

Imagine this scenario:

Two children have an almost identical upbringing. They have happy childhoods and loving parents. When they reach adulthood, one of them still remembers their childhood and sometimes think back to the days when the world was innocent in their eyes. The other, however, has left their childhood far behind and detached themselves from the past. They rarely think back and they feel that they have to move on now that they are an adult.

I’ll leave it to you to imagine which child becomes ‘good’ and not. In truth, it’s never quite as black and white as this example. Think of the Taliban in the Middle East, the capitalist western world or a mugger who steals to feed his family. In my opinion, sometimes an antagonist is someone who has left the happiness and mystery of childhood behind.

Our greatest lessons and values are learned in our early lives. What happens if we try to shut away our memories of that early period? Do we perhaps start to lose our sense of right and wrong? Can you imagine that Hitler ever took a moment to remember himself as a child while committing terrible crimes against humanity? Children are born innocent and without prejudice, until the world around them affects them in some way. If a person embraces that early child within themselves regularly, perhaps they will be a better person. Perhaps not. Perhaps I’m wrong. But it’s my opinion in any case.

I wonder if you agree or disagree? Care to share your views on this?