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Just under two weeks since I returned home from England, and already much of the immediacy of that trip has gone.

The memory is being transformed, compressed and catalogued, placed neatly in my mind next to all the other, older, recollections of travel and vacation. Soon it will begin to bleed factually into the others, just as all my memories tend to dissolve into each other. Not the prime elements – they usually stay fixed as they are – but the side details, the everyday occurences. These seem to flit effortlessly from time to time, inserting themselves where they should not, and camouflaging themselves into the background.

Only when I examine some written record, or get the story of any particular moment from others, do I find that what I recall is sometimes not actually what happened.

Nonetheless, these imperfect memories are what define my life as it has been lived. The implication is that I have to some extent subconciously modified my past to create a present that is in some respects out of real time. I doubt if I am alone in this, but thinking about it reminds me of the plasticity of perception and how what I see, hear and feel is so deeply affected by all the components of my personality.

Is this overwhelming subjectivity something to regret? I think not, not least because acceptance of it is more realistic way of living than futile attempts to think objectively, despite the lure of that latter quality with its implication that you can somehow dissect out of yourself an essence that is more 'real' than what you are.

Better, I feel, to reconcile to yourself to all the contradictions, misperceptions and circular thinking. Some of the tangles can be teased out, but the knot will never be truly undone.

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