Sharareh Aghaei M.F.A.

Master-Thesis: "COLLECTIVE MEMORY AND PERSONAL IDENTITY"

Supervision: Prof. Ute Eitzenhöfer, Prof. Eva-Maria Kollischan, Prof. Theo Smeets

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Summary

Since our childhood, we have received information from our surrounding, absorbed them and got influenced from them. Everything that we have seen and heard from others or what we have felt, directly affects us. This information from our surrounding, colors, smells, taste, shapes and feelings settles somewhere, hiding in our mind and occupying a space in one corner of the mind. The tales that we have heard, the cultural mythos, the narratives relayed to us by our grandmothers during bedtime, the literature that we have read and the social events that we have experienced ourselves or through others, make a space of their own in our minds. All these things that occurs during our lives and in our environment leave marks on our minds and become “Memories”. Our comprehension of life is derived from a wide variety of factors through our life’s experiences. Our minds decode these experiences and forms its own perception, allowing us to apply them in every suitable occasion and getting influenced from the feedbacks. This interacting and repeating movement makes dynamic cycles, guiding us to shape our characteristic manners and taking long lasting, deep position in our subconscious minds. If we make the trip and step into our long past which is stored in our memories, we may find the origins of our later ideas. We need to review them, go through all old perceptions and bring them from their refuge to the surface of the mind, redefining them with present perceptions. The transferring process from the past to the present helps us to move into the future and further experiences. In order to have an insight into ourselves, we need to find the sources and understand how to approach different states. The point of this research is to sum up, all of the reasons above, in addition to the necessity of discovering the roots of memories and revealing the importance of this discovery to confront the present. In continuation of working on the concept of Identity, I am confronted with the importance of our past and moments, we have experienced during our life, on our cognitive process. The main part of cognition of our self-attains from the testimony of Memory. Memory and notion of the possession of a specific moment in our life which calls, autobiographical memory, has brought me to the significant role of Memory as a provider for our sense of personal identity.