Thought For The Day #1211 November 2013
Broadcast 11th of November 2013 on BBC Radio Bristol
“It’s on the tip of my tongue.” That’s an odd phrase isn’t it? Like saying that one part of my mouth knows what to do, but the rest doesn’t. If only I could remember what my lips, my jaw and the rest of my tongue have to do then I could say that word.
Memory is a curious thing. We’re not like computers that can just access data and display it on a screen. We have many kinds of memory and also many reasons for remembering. Take muscle memory for example. We can go years without riding a bike, but somehow our body stores the skill so we don’t have to relearn the magic balancing act.
There are some things I remember perfectly well but conveniently decide to forget. Like the fact that I’m going to die. That’s certainly not something I get stuck on the tip of my tongue. It’s just that I need to be in the right mood to take it on board. So I let it slip. Perhaps more than I should.
But ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ That’s a quote that’s hard to forget. Remembering is a serious business, both personally and collectively. Why did I choose this career again? There was a day when I clearly made that decision. Why do we argue about political parties? There have been times when millions of us have died to keep that privilege. The answers to these questions shouldn’t be on the tip of my tongue. They should be as easy to recall as riding a bike.