What would you do if I told you not to think about elephants? Yeah, I thought so. Me too!
Effective denial of a subject or thought is actually quite difficult to achieve on a consistent basis, particularly if it carries with it great emotional weight and impact. While the elephant mentioned above might have instantly popped into your mind the moment you read the words, by now it’s beginning to fade from memory…except for the fact I just mentioned it again.
But witnessing an elephant stampede, possibly being endangered by one, or someone being cruel to the animal, beating it mercilessly to compel a certain behavior, might actually leave a lasting impression that is extremely difficult to extinguish. Memory is an interesting phenomenon, one which encompasses sight, sound, smell, taste and touch into a billion different combinations carefully customized to each individual psychology.
How many times have we heard a song or distinct sound, smelled a flower or food, touched a fabric or surface or felt a summer breeze or cold wind only to be flooded with a memory or memories of days long past? Which came first, the triggering sense or the memory? Would the memory be as sharp and real if not for the triggering sensory input?
However, the above is discussing one time happenings, memories of single events or a series of events compressed into a relatively short period of time. Absent the passage of memory dulling time, how does one forget or actively deny a persistent reality that insists on making its presence known? How do we ignore an ugly truth, a clear and present existence that doesn’t fade away into the ether?
Simple! We call it something else, thereby putting lipstick on a pig. Not that I have anything against pigs or lipstick.
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