Posted On: January 12th, 2019 | Posted By: miketrial
Paintings with very strong contrasts of light and darkness, like this one by Georges de La Tour, help us realize that what we see is defined in part by what we don’t see. The image quality called Chiaroscuro, the contrast of light and darkness in a painting, dramatizes this. From Caravaggio to Rembrandt, darkness colors the emotions their paintings evoke.
I think memory is somewhat analogous. Darkness – what we don’t remember – shapes us as much as the light – what we do remember.
Our memories inevitably fade with the passage of time, like the fading of a painting. Sharp emotions dissipate, images fade to sepia, and eventually may disappear entirely. In addition to this natural fading, our subconscious works to subtly reshape our memories so that they better support the persona we want to present to the world.
Another kind of memory reshaping can occur when someone we trust informs us that what we remember is not the truth. Our minds adjust, but we are irreversibly changed, and it is sometimes a wrenching, change. We may remain uncertain what to believe.