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Memory involves the whole body

When I wake up each morning, there are things I recognise as part of ‘me’. The aura of dream is replaced almost immediately by a continuity of thought from the previous day. And behind this are layers of familiar sensation: the dryness of my skin; the exaggerated sensitivity of my hands; the way my eyes want to hide from the daylight; the empty feeling of my typical morning hunger; and the bodily restlessness that will soon get me out of bed. Words are there even before I realise it, and I feel a pang of regret as I break the silence. Then I look at my partner, stirring next to me, and recognise another whole domain of identity: the people I share my life with and the feelings they bring to life. It’s a cascade of embodiment, of tendency, of self, that emerges. Doubtless, if I survived a brain injury, some of these things might change or disappear. But not all of them.

Memory involves the whole body. It’s how the self defies amnesia

Ben Platts-Mills

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