The experience with people who have suffered brain injuries suggests that “our memory lives in the action of the whole body and that it arises from a behavioral disposition and a lasting state of mind which become a way of being”, which gives the feeling of existing as an individual to a person.
The quote in quotes is from Ben Platts-Millsworks, who works for Headway East London, a charity that supports brain injury survivors and is an interesting quote because it derives from the experience of this Hackney London resident and his work.
When people do the things they love, they gain more self-confidence. And the keyword of the article is that they “do” because he is convinced that memory is in the whole body and “doing” the things we love reinforces us.
He reasons, to explain himself, that when we wake up in the morning we recognize our body: “the dryness of our skin; the exaggerated sensitivity of our hands; the way our eyes want to hide from the light of day ”, the feeling of emptiness in the stomach and the rush that enters the body, which takes us out of bed, even if we don’t want to.
All of this is like “a cascade of information from the body” that is increasing, emerging from it.
Ben includes a reflection by José María Rilke to explain the idea:
The memories themselves are not important. Only when they have been transformed into our own blood, into look and gesture, and have no name, will they no longer be able to distinguish themselves from us.
Only then can it happen, when in a very rare hour, the first word of a poem arises between them and comes out of them.
Ben Platts-Millsworks Article Commentary “Memory involves the whole body. It’s how the self defies amnesia” which has been published on the blog psyche.co
Ben Platts-Millsworks works for Headway East London, a charity that supports brain injury survivors. In 2013, he led the development of a project to write autobiographies of injury survivors called “Who Are You Now?”.
He is also the author of the book “Tell Me the Planets: Stories of Brain Injury and What It Means to Survive” (2018).