MEMORIES AND TRAUMAS: SHOULD WE LET NATURE FOLLOW ITS COURSE?

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Autore: Ambrogio Pennati psychiatrist - Milano, Italy

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MEMORIES AND TRAUMAS: SHOULD WE LET NATURE FOLLOW ITS COURSE?

  1. 1. Memories and Traumas: should we let nature follow its course? <br />AmbrogioPennati<br />psychiatrist<br />Milano, Italy<br />ambrogio.pennati@gmail.com<br />
  2. 2. war<br />“I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die.” Roy Batty, Blade Runner, final scene. <br />The touching scene from the film “Blade Runner”,<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTzA_xesrL8<br />where Rick Deckard watches the spasmodic agony of Roy Batting (picture), the replicant ‘boss’ that Rick had the order to ‘retire’ (kill) and with whom he engaged a ferocious final battle, should be taught to all who, aware of their assignment (the unconscious couldn’t understand), want to cure and take care of others<br />
  3. 3. memories<br />Roy talks about his battle memories, and that one doesn’t need to know if they are real or if they have been implanted into one’s mind, if one believes in their truth a moment before his death, therefore feeling compassion and empathy towards Deckard. Roy becomes human, transforming from replicant to man thanks to his awareness that his memories will soon become “drops in the rain” and will fade away, as he holds a white dove (this masterpiece contains many references to esoteric christianity), which will later fly away.<br /> <br />He is also aware, though, that if Deckard will remember him, he will stay alive in different forms, transcending the finiteness of his physical body. So, he leaves Deckard alive and astonished. Roy uses his memories to survive his death, inspiring Deckard to reconcile with Rachel, the replicant who he loves, and to make her experience things that may let her turn human, as she is Deckard’s most profound desire<br />
  4. 4. survival<br />We are used to think of our memory as a cognitive function, whereas it can be more correctly considered as a biological function which aims to improve our survival possibilities when facing traumatic events (events which put the subject’s psychophysical survival in severe danger without the subject being able to control such occurrences).<br /> <br />As of today, we see a sudden and potentially dangerous pathologization (both medic and psychotherapeutic) of traumatic memories, as everyone enjoys (this often turns out useful) thinking that reliving such trauma will somehow hurt the subject (no one has ever found complete reliable proof of this). We have forgotten to ask ourselves an important question: How is it that, after almost 180,000 years of the Homo Sapien’s existence, evolution didn’t ‘remove’ the possibility of reliving events such as wars, epidemics, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, assaults and so forward? <br />
  5. 5. trascendence<br />This probably due to the fact that the traumatic memories have the precise function of protecting us, generating more effective defensive responses. If it only where as such, though, we would all be perfect ‘psychopathic predators’, whereas we are ‘seen’ as humans with empathic abilities.<br />In a healthy population, nor sick or weakened by other factors, the presence of traumatic memories is a growing psychobiological and spiritual factor, as after near-death experiences people ‘open their organisms’ to the experience of transcendence, and it is the same for the traumas if the patients do not passively rely on psychologists or psychiatrists (see<br />Trauma & Spirituality: An International Dialogue - March 2011 - Belfast).<br />
  6. 6. weltanschauung<br />Such traumas can lead, in most of cases, to the development of new personal “weltanschauung”<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwaZqeaFv8U.<br />If what Janet said “memory is an action, essentially the action of narrating a story”is true, as the most recent researches have proven, then it is appropriate to observe that the narration of traumatic memories imply the presence of a speaker or narrator, and that such memories cannot be narrate without empathy.<br />
  7. 7. boundaries of “I”<br />Such traumatic memories are used, concluding, to cooperate and grow with our group of membership, and easing the genesis of a feeling that, breaking the boundaries of ‘I’, brings us closer to what we earlier saw as unknowable. It is the awareness of transcendence in comparison to finiteness that the trauma imposes on us that makes us feel what could be considered the most sublime morale towards others; or what is known as ‘pietas’, which Roy Batty offers to Rick Deckard as his true memory and therefore his passport to immortality. <br />Everything else will be provided by the white dove of collective unconscious, both genetic and memetic. <br />
  8. 8. epilogue<br />

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