Memory and Mental Process

Sri Aurobindo discusses the role of memory and the functioning of the mentality in our inner self-experience as follows: “It is not the memory alone which constitutes the ego-sense; memory is only a mediator between the sense-mind and the co-ordinating intelligence: it offers to the intelligence the past data of experience which the mind holds somewhere within but cannot carry with it in its running from moment to moment on the surface.”

Its role however is significant: “for while all that it can do for the mind with regard to its direct self-consciousness is to remind it that it existed and was the same in the past as in the present, it becomes in our differentiated or surface self-experience an important power linking together past and present experiences, past and present personality, preventing chaos and dissociation and assuring the continuity of the stream in the surface mind.”

The sense of continuity provided by memory is an important constituent of the ego-sense, but even without memory, the ego-sense can and does exist. We will explore the process of the mental experience and its relation to the ego-sense of the surface consciousness starting in the next post.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 9, Memory, Ego and Self-Experience, pg 514

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