At Four, I was Watching A Few Good Men

I have a vivid memory that I watched A Few Good Men when I was four years old. I remember being in my little body. I was practically up against the television by the courtroom scene. I was getting upset at the character that Tom Cruise was playing for demanding to know what the truth was. I was deeply relieved when the character on the stand played by Jack Nicholson said the famous words. “You cannot handle the truth.”

I remember my feeling—I was soothed.

He is arrested at the end…

If it is true that remembering and imagining happen in the same part of the brain—though I do not know where other cultures and belief systems place them—then my parents might have come together on that level. My father had a dementia-related illness, his memory being one of the most acute manifestations of it, and my mother lived in her imagination. We all do, in a sense, but a Zen Master psychologist reflected that my mother (and I) were very Neptune, the planet that rules (if you use this system) dreams.

I heard “remember me” in my head at four years old spacing out in front of the mirrors in my mother’s office. Apparently, I was given away to a total stranger around this time. I lived there for four years. It is only very recently that I’ve begun to sit with the memories that I have at this age. Watching A Few Good Men is one of the most sensational. It made me laugh. The film was released in 1992. I was seven years old actually, but I remember it as a four years old. Where was I in space and time?

I just looked it up at thirty-six years old.

At four, my impression—my mother left one—was that “the truth” didn’t seem to exist with her. Also, the idea that we cannot handle what “the truth is” was part of why I started investigating what had happened to me four years later—at eight years old. My mother was an extreme character, and it made me question what really happened to her—how did she become this? I think we can handle the truth, we might want to move towards that line of thinking. There are many, but there are probably fundamental ones we could establish.

Such as: we are all human beings.

If it is true that the future writes the past—there is no such thing, also true, but as an idea it exists. There is a future out there, no? If you’re thinking about things like maintaining a society, longevity, generations. You are apart of a line that goes backwards too, though that would be a linear framework; it has never been my perspective. There are many probable futures. There are many histories that exist. New but old stories rise from the vestiges of history to reframe, expand, and change our perspective. Take Art History as a subject and Medicine as a field.

The memory reflects that A Few Good Men spoke to me at a specific point in time regardless of when I really saw it. I have no recollection of seeing it at any other time. None. It’s a famous moment in cinema that had an impact—many remember it. Why do certain lines resonate on a large scale? What is their effect through time? Why are new ages coming into the forefront of my consciousness now?

Maybe information can touch us so profoundly that it can hit us (even as energy) at a different point in time. My hypnotherapist said that probable future events can affect the real past. In my experience, it felt very true. Maybe what we are doing right now, which would make sense no, is spinning up a future result into a foreseeable reality.

Your memories don’t “really” exist anymore.

Why do you remember what you do?

Can you rewrite the past to a certain degree?

Now, think about history in relationship to that statement.

A future you are envisioning into a reality—your profession even—it first exists as an idea.

What senses do we use to perform either function? Imagine and remember?

Are we just dreaming?

If the future writes the past, wouldn’t that imply that what we are imagining and what we are remembering are related in some way? Think about that on a collective scale. It takes 100 years for the night sky to catch up to us. The stars we are seeing in the sky are 100 years in the past. “I have a dream…” Martin Luther King Jr said. That line still resonates through time though the actual point in time in which it really occurred is no longer. There are recordings, of course, there are aids. I spoke to an intuitive healer during quarantine who said “if everyone remembered their dreams…”

As June Miller spends time with an Amazonian tribe, she told me that the community comes together every morning to recount their dreams. They consider dreaming to be a real reality, just as real as waking life. They make their decisions based on their dreams. That’s just a dream, I mean, sure. That would be one way of looking at this thing that we do individually as well as collectively. Meaning-making is what we do. We dream. Merrily merrily merrily, life is but a dream.

One of my characters brought it into my awareness—a children’s song.

For example, I was speaking to a friend when I was beginning to write. I remembered that I used to bring a notebook on the plane when I was a child because I had some time on my hands. How would I describe a sunset, I mean, really? He reflected that the act of becoming a writer could be affecting my past. How I was arranging it. My recollections coming to the surface could be shaping themselves around a decision that was taking shape. Some events could be so significant that it could even provoke that child in the past to simply wonder how she would describe a sunset.

He also said that the President’s job is to “imagine,” and he took the idea out of his head, “what the country could look like.”

Right now, I’ve cast my line into the future. Publishing a book, I picture the physical thing in my hand, because that’s a foreseeable outcome. I can take those steps. The idea that you can’t, what’s the use of it? There’s as much possibility in the future as there is in the past, if neither one “really” exists? As ideas they do. The point of power is in the present, and what about the concept of eternal life? It’s what the idea implies.

“Each voluptuous moment though very short holds all eternity.”

I read that line above an etching of the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Eternal does not mean everlasting, but in thinking about the concept of eternity as existing outside of time, then every moment does too. In this present moment, the exchange between these two actors in A Few Good Men might be resurfacing in relationship to what is currently going on. Our desire to know “the truth seems to be “the one” that we are searching for. I’m speaking directly to my culture of the USA. You can’t handle the truth. We could probably agree that there is very little trust in the truth.

Remember me. I heard it when I was four. Where did that come from? It’s why meditation is a powerful exercise. And so is dreaming. We do it all the time. We could remember things at certain ages (inside of us) regardless of when in time the memorable event happened. It could have an effect if you conceive of time outside of a linear framework, and we say the time doesn’t really exist, so? Did the film on my TV—in my remembering of it—open up an access point to a new age that I had lost touch with?

You have to understand, from four-eight years old I was in someone else’s house. At seven years old…what was I doing? I probably watched the film coming out of this situation. It was released in theaters around this time regardless. I want the truth. You can’t handle the truth. I cannot speak to how long it took for films to hit the little screens, but it appeared on the screen, in my living room, years earlier. It resonated—the energy of it—through time. It struck a chord. What is that chord? I think about The Fates in Greek mythology, the line of our lives, just as an image. And if you think about it, there is probably a kind of collective chord that certain books, films, events in history, can strike.

But how will we remember them?

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Family, fun, self-discovery. Writing Christmas in Naples is a Sport. www.mariamocerino.com

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Maria Mocerino

Maria Mocerino

Family, fun, self-discovery. Writing Christmas in Naples is a Sport. www.mariamocerino.com

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