Humans have always tried to cope with the difficulty of memory, to turn it “from an intolerable horror to something which is reassuringly innocuous and familiar.”
Passively and without people being actively involved, the world gives a lot to people, and most of it remains permanently beyond conscious deliberation and reflection, as mere sensations that have the potential to become many things except active reflection. The question has always been: why, out of this huge amount of sensory material, does something stimulate active reflection where other things do not? The answer is always the same: chance has a lot to do with it, as do people’s interests at any given time, but, above all, it is habit that hides some phenomena, while illuminating others. We do not have direct access to our habits but we see them indirectly through this division that is imposed on us. We can easily separate habit and interest, because we know what our interests are, so probably not all phenomena in this domain fall in the domain of habit. All others do, and they point in the direction of which I have not been aware but by which I have observed and experienced.
∆ John Dewey, “Habit Does Not Equal Knowledge”
“Most people believe the mind to be a mirror, more or less accurately reflecting the world outside them, not realizing on the contrary that the mind is itself the principal element of creation.” (Rabindranath Tagore)