Memory Without Recall
Antoine Lejeune is a neurologist, formerly a consultant in memory at the Saint-Thomas neurological hospital in Aix-en-Provence, and author of several books on ageing and resilience.
Michel Delage is a psychiatrist, formerly a professor in the Army Health Service, a former head of department at the Sainte-Anne army teaching hospital in Toulon, and a family therapist at the Vivre-en-Famille Association in La Seyne-sur-Mer. His previous works, Family Resilience, Emotions and Attachment in Family Life and Family and Resilience (co-edited with Boris Cyrulnik) are published by Odile Jacob.
There is such a thing as memory without recall. We do not think about it because, precisely, this memory works automatically. It is unconscious — we also call it implicit. As such, it functions quickly and consumes little mental energy.
This little-discussed memory is essential to our existence. It plays a major role in building our identity, in our relationship with time and in our creativity. And it has great advantages, notably because it allows us, without effort, to carry out many tasks, and also because it is robust and erodes much less, with the test of time, than conscious memory.
What does this memory become when you grow up? When we get older? Or when developing a neurodegenerative disease? What are the mechanisms to which this subterranean force obeys that can just as easily give us a taste for life as we lock ourselves in habits and repetition?