This excerpt is from the February, 2022 issue of The Sun Magazine by James Hillman entitled: "Memory, Short-Term Loss, Long Term Gain."
Could this division have some wisdom in it? Could the mind be refusing to take in new stuff so that images of long ago and far away can rise up in strength and freshness? It may be annoying to you and infuriating to others that you let the kettle boil away, mislay your keys, forget your great-nephew’s name, but is character built of kettles and keys and the names of little boys? . . .
Geriatric psychology finds that older people spend more and more time taking stock, doing their “life review.” This is a work of recovery not from the past but of the past, a work of research — a “recherche du temps perdu,” as Proust called his massive, exquisite treatise on remembering. If past time is not to be lost time, one must give it presence. Therefore, new events come in only when they tie in with old ones. You travel to a foreign city and find yourself talking about another place it reminds you of; you meet a younger relative, and notice only the traits of her mother and aunts, who attended your wedding; you are served a special dish, only to tell how you used to make it. It is not the taste of the new dish or the face of the new relative that matters; only that they prompt old memories.