01 November 2020

On forgetting (the deliberate kind)

Let's forget about it. Forgive and forget. Kalimutan mo na iyon. Kalimutan mo na siya.

Always a prescription, to forget. I find it especially curious, the expression, I can forgive but I won't forget. As if forgiveness isn't total. One bestows pardon but the crime is recorded somewhere for reference; for purposes we've yet to predict.

Is it nobler to accept a person with full awareness of their wrongdoings, because in this regard you are merciful and pragmatic, headstrong despite the ways of the world, that is, everyone will sooner or later disappoint you.

Or must we prefer true oblivion, because even the smallest resentment can shake a good night's sleep and, if we're not careful, create a tear in future relationships. A tear that can grow bigger and bigger, no matter how careful we may be.


Ishiguro, Kazuo. The Buried Giant. Vintage Books, 2015.

"Who knows what will come when quick-tongued men make ancient grievances rhyme with fresh desire for land and conquest?" (Ishiguro, 348)


A Japanese trainee noted that we must remember our history, except for the wars and tragedies. The latter, according to him, we should forget. He's far from articulate when speaking in English, so he may mean other things when he said forget.

In The Buried Giant by Kashuo Ishiguro, an entire land is swept by a literal forgetfulness. Histories, personal and communal are incomplete. Bits and pieces of a hazy past nag them from time to time, but nothing to rob them of their peace.

If there is a magic potion for forgetting, I'd take it. Is it weakness? A betrayal of Justice? Maybe.

I'd take it.


Who are we if not our memories? Even what we do now becomes history the next second. There is our (individual) history, and there is someone else's history of us. Who's to say which of these we should live by.

Forgive and forget. Is our love greater if we choose to bury memories of a cheating partner? Do we become less of a human being if we hold on to a hurt?

Top Shelf