“What is Memory According to Theosophical Teaching
Enq: If it is on this kind of memory – poetry and abnormal fancies, on your own confession – that you base your doctrine, then you will convince very few, I am afraid.
Theo: I did not “confess” it was a fancy. I simply said that physiologists and scientists in general regard such reminiscences as hallucinations and fancy, to which learned conclusion they are welcome.
We do not deny that such visions of the past and glimpses far back into the corridors of time, are not abnormal, as contrasted with our normal daily life experience and physical memory. But we do maintain with Professor W. Knight, that “the absence of memory of any action done in a previous state cannot be a conclusive argument against our having lived through it.”
And every fair-minded opponent must agree with what is said in Butler’s Lectures on Platonic Philosophy – “that feeling of extravagance with which it (pre-existence) affects us has its secret source in materialistic or semi-materialistic prejudices.”
Besides which we maintain that memory, as Olympiodorus called it, is simply phantasy, and the most unreliable thing in us.
“The phantasy”, says Olympiodorus (in Platonic Phaed.), “is an impediment to our intellectual conceptions; and hence, when we are agitated by the inspiring influence of the Divinity, if the phantasy intervenes, the enthusiastic energy ceases; for enthusiasm and the ecstasy are contrary to each other.
Should it be asked whether the soul is able to energize without the phantasy, we reply, that its perception of universals proves that it is able.
It has perceptions, therefore, independent of the phantasy; at the same time, however, the phantasy attends in its energies, just as a storm pursues him who sails on the seas.”
Ammonius Saccas asserted that the only faculty in man directly opposed to prognostication, or looking into futurity, is memory.
Furthermore, remember that memory is one thing and mind or thought is another; one is a recording machine, a register which very easily gets out of order; the other (thoughts) are eternal and imperishable.
Would you refuse to believe in the existence of certain things or men only because your physical eyes have not seen them? Would not the collective testimony of past generations who have seen him be a sufficient guarantee that Julius Ceasar once lived?
Why should not the same testimony of the psychic senses of the masses be taken into consideration?”
H. P. Blavatsky