Arts and Sciences
Spanish, Psychology, Humanities, Philosophy
Amor intempestivo (Untimely Love) is a profound autobiographical narrative where Rafael Reig candidly reflects on his experiences and errors through cathartic writing. The process of recalling memories is a difficult act of self-reflection, since we relive tragedy and suffering reentering these spaces. However, I argue the broader significance of the novel is that reflecting on past memories and self-criticizing failures allows us to understand the meaning of these experiences and then improve by learning from mistakes. The narrator’s reflections on his lost relationships, his parents’ death, and his professional challenges as a writer lead him to recognize his weaknesses. Although he experiences cognitive dissonance in conceptualizing the meaning of these lived events and his guilt, grief, and pain, sincere contemplation allows him to gain insight and grow. Psychologically, when we remember traumatic experiences in this past-present mental space, we synchronously are passively observing and actively evaluating, to detect our flaws and redeem ourselves through personal change. Our memory is a narrative without end: There is a continuous, simultaneous cycle between remembering the past and writing the anticipated future, as we are living presently. There is a concurrent affective interplay between past, present, and future emotions, which influences the encoding, storage, and retrieval of memories. Being intentional with entering difficult mental spaces allows us to understand the developing effects of our memories on our identity and behavior, which is essential to learn and improve. Through constant honest reflection, it is possible to discover meaning in our experiences and avoid repeating errors.
Hodson, Payton, "Memories: The Keys to Understanding and Self-Improvement" (2022). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 1116.