Use and Misuse of Memory

On page 210 of "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" are these words of our revered Leader: "It is plain that nothing can be added to the mind already full. There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness. Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited."

Let us apply the foregoing words of wisdom and caution to what is usually known as memory. What a busy and marvel-working photographer this memory is! Silently and instantaneously this artisan in the workshop of human thought adjusts its camera, and lo! notwithstanding the noises and distractions all about, the pictures are taken multitudinously. What a kaleidoscopic gallery they make; some of them transient, some of them limned for permanency; some always treasured and loved; some to bless us, some to blight and curse us. Some are shaped from the mysterious figments of our night dreams, some from the shifting cloud racks of our day dreams. All the incidents, large and little; all the thoughts and fancies, good or bad; all the emotions; all the passions; all the hopes and fears; all movements of remorse for bad actions and thoughts; all serene and uplifting feelings; in brief, every motion and every shadow of motion of the mind are pictured.

This imperfect description of the activities of the so-called faculty of memory, as classified in many materialistic works on psychology, affords us a glimpse of manifold uses and abuses of the diversified functions of this mental photography. It may be useful to specialize such abuses more particularly. Let us first consider the misuse of memory in perpetuating our fears. These fears are a very prolific and very perilous source of sickness and sin, as has been frequently remarked. The memory of them is a Pandora's box of evil suggestions. Whenever we recall the fears which have menaced our past, we thereby imprint them upon our thought more or less indelibly, so that they may renew their pernicious functions. When the clouds and mists of fear are removed from our mental atmosphere we shall live in enduring sunlight and harmony. When we recall past fears we are liable to exaggerate and emphasize them; we are also renewing their evil effects,—doubling their manifestations, much as the lowest form of animal life is said to multiply by self-division.

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"The secret place"
May 24, 1919

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