Memory and Remembering

Memory is "the faculty of the mind by which it retains the knowledge of past events, or ideas which are past. A distinction is made between memory and recollection. memory retains past ideas without any, or with little effort; recollection implies an effort to recall ideas that are past. Memory is the purveyor of reason. A retaining of past ideas in the mind; remembrance. Events that excite little attention are apt to escape from memory. Exemption from oblivion. The time within which past events can be remembered or recollected, or the time within which a person may have knowledge of what is past. Memorial; monumental record; that which calls to remembrance. Reflection; attention."—Webster’s American Dictionary

A modern definition of memory is "the capacity for retaining, perpetuating, or reviving the thought of things past; the capacity of a body or substance for manifesting effects of its previous state, behavior, or treatment." To remember means "to retain in, or recall to, the memory; to bear in mind, recollect, not to forget."—Oxford English Dictionary

“Recollection is the liaison between memory and consciousness.”—Edna Lister

The most important aspect of memory and your ability to remember is that it is founded on Plato's Doctrine of Recollection. Memory is a mental and a soul faculty. Memory and remembering are an abstract principle under the Wisdom principle of Mind, and a law of being; remembering is a law of doing, a good memory is a soul virtue and an instinctive mental faculty.

Memory is cumulative, whether unconscious or conscious. Self rules the unconscious memory, creating from it urges and cravings. Soul rules the conscious memory, a direct link to super-conscious mind that results in varying degrees of eidetic or photographic memory, visual or aural.

Edna Lister on Memory and Remembering

Memory, mimicry and perception are instinctive capacities.—Edna Lister, Building Character, April 18, 1936.

You see and hear spiritually with the mind, but listen for the Master’s voice with your brain cells. You see with the "mystic eye" within the nerve ganglia in the center of the head, immediately above the midbrain. Both are instruments that Mind plays, upon which the soul registers thought, which is a vibration of Mind. Just as you can see with eyes open or closed, so can you hear. You must close your physical eyes and ears to earth objects and noises to see and hear spiritually.—Edna Lister, March 28, 1939.

You must consciously lift the unconscious. Any memory impression of darkness that you unconsciously hold in the subconscious realm must obey the same law of nature that guides plants, birds and animals in evolution — to seek the Light. So memory impressions must and do resurface until you work them out.

So seek new methods to lift and erase them from your records, which may take time. If the memory impression is deep, then it will take time to erase it fully from subconscious memory. Deep memory impressions include thoughts of family, heritage, disease, lack of success or old fears held often or for a long period.

How will you know when you have erased a memory record? When it is gone forever, when you no longer remember it, when it never enters your conscious mind again. This is your sign that you have overcome this cloud of darkness, completely melted by the heat of your burning desire, and changed into Light.

Every denial adds another dark thought to the pile already in the subconscious mind. One affirmation crosses out or overcomes just one dark thought. Since you always begin with a subconscious full of memory impressions to overcome, you may go on for years, seemingly standing still. Yet this apparent standstill is not real, for only a small ray of the Christ Light will ultimately melt any barrier of utter blackness. All Light needs is plenty of time.—Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941. 

Each brain function is a faculty. Memory impressions run through all the body’s cells and remain until you lift the physical.—Edna Lister, December 4, 1941.

One who has a poor memory, who does not exercise his powers of recollection, who lets brain cells and nerve centers atrophy is only a lazy person. Make yourself memorize something while knitting, sewing, gardening or mowing the lawn. Prose, or poetry, do it now.—Edna Lister, "Make Every Minute Count," Life in a Nutshell, 1942.

Subconscious memory is a sieve so fine that nothing ever falls through. It holds the memory impressions of all experiences. The subconscious is a willing servant, ever ready to aid you by sending to the conscious mind whatever you desire to use, but it grows careless unless it is well trained. If your thinking is sloppy and confused, if you are always contradicting yourself, subconscious memory may refuse to answer your call. It is neither lost nor gone; it needs only some good, hard corrective measures.

Before sleep, give it definite orders to listen and obey your commands. Tell yourself that your memory is wonderful, and that it sends everything you need instantly. Don’t contradict yourself. Continue coaching yourself until you get results.—Edna Lister, "Your Subconscious Sieve," Life in a Nutshell, 1942.

You can remember everything to which you are entitled.—Edna Lister, January 26, 1942.

You cannot afford to be lukewarm, lest you open yourself to attack from the self within, which will feed you the Cup of Lethe, which lulls and puts to sleep the flame of desire.—Edna Lister, August 31, 1943. 

Keep the subconscious mind posted on everything that happens around you. You have powers of induction, deduction and analysis to use. Do not concentrate on the subconscious, for it will induct from the outer. Your job is to analyze as you go. Charge your mind to do so, then go about your business of being fully aware and mentally conscious. In other words, know what you are doing. Concentrate to pay full attention to what you do while you are doing it. Leave the super-conscious, or Oversoul, free to dwell and create above.

Charge your self to be alive and alert on all three levels while you look up occasionally to the Oversoul and observe what is transpiring. Track on all three levels as you go. You recall from the subconscious since it retains all experiences, conditions and situations, so each memory cell should be alive, alert and aware. Go to your high place, your room of Light regularly, to recharge your batteries. Keep your whole mental house in order and leave out nothing. Let, do not demand. Do not force, even slightly. You cannot fail with letting.—Edna Lister, June 30, 1944.

What you do not remember is due to your lack of desire to be alive and to know all departments.—Edna Lister, July 9, 1945.

Laws of the Mind: Ignorance is lack of observation or definite lukewarmness, indifference or failure to care after observation has taken place. Information gained through observation, pondered, analyzed and fitted into the facts of your life become individual knowledge. The cause of all failure to recall or remember is due to the failure to ponder, analyze and fit into the facts of your life what is observed. We call it "I can’t remember."

You must give up some darkness for every mystery gained. It takes effort and time to make a deep enough impression on the conscious memory cells. A poor memory is due to mental, emotional and physical laziness with many self-excuses to account for it: "I AM too busy. I AM too tired. I have too much to do and not enough hours in the day." It takes rigorous self-discipline to overcome such appetitive soul excuses for its own total indifference whether you gain any knowledge.—Edna Lister, July 10, 1945.

Consciousness is like a muscle that is weak and clumsy until you exercise it enough to strengthen it. God cannot fill a pitcher already full of self-interests. He must have new chambers in your appetitive soul to fill with an ever greater glory, if you are to ascend high enough. Only as you dig all negative memory impressions from the depths of appetitive soul can God use such prepared chambers to His honor and glory.—Edna Lister, July 13, 1945. 

The remaining traces of self in the cells causes all crystallization and physical weakness. Each cell has individual memory, so each must be cleansed. To do this requires the constant watchfulness of every detail of life.—Edna Lister, July 17, 1945.

Parents can give their children awakened capacities, and pass on developed brain cells and memory impressions.—Edna Lister, July 21, 1945.

The mother’s interests during pregnancy awaken soul capacities in her child. If she does not dwell on an emotional shock she experiences, the child will erase all memory of it by his tenth birthday, and grow up with no inhibitions in that regard.—Edna Lister, July 21, 1945.

A brilliant mind is nothing until you lift and act from above.—Edna Lister, June 24, 1947.

You forget details because you want to forget. When you want to remember, you do.—Edna Lister, August 21, 1947.

Observe. Stay up to recall. It is shameful that anything on the outer can cause you to come down.—Edna Lister, January 8, 1948.

You forget because you have let your vibration descend.—Edna Lister, June 5, 1948.

The two parent cells — sperm and ovum — contain the memory of twenty million ancestors.—Edna Lister, The Flaming Sword, July 29, 1951.

The subconscious mind is the memory storehouse of past actions and experiences, which creates what we call the "fate line." It is the seat of plausible "hunches," which are its only forms of deduction. The subconscious is always fishing in the waters of life, catching fears and doubts, and creating more failure. When you have a hunch of right or wrong, you allow subconscious mind to condition your life only from the past.—Edna Lister, How to Relate Mind and Power, June 22, 1952.

Each life spark is a memory cell impregnated with impressions from the past.—Edna Lister, The Beginning of a Planet, June 19, 1954.

Nothing passes through the fine screen of subconscious mind without being recorded on the memory cells. It has taken thousands of pictures, lasting negatives of all experiences, and can produce a full-blown composite of any of them at a second’s notice. Imagination scans every picture in memory, mind analyzes, makes deductions and produces an answer. This is why, in all healing through Mind, we know that there is only one small "window of opportunity."—Edna Lister, Eternal Youth, 1956, 1976.

Every time you repudiate an earth lesson, it builds new conflicts in the submerged portion of memory.—Edna Lister, Eternal Youth, 1956.

The Word is the concept that births your idea. When you can’t quite "get" the idea, the Logos Word vibration of Mind has filled your memory cells, which interpret the concept, but you must insistently reorder your subconscious to interpret the vibration into word-ideas and uncover the answer.

While they seek ways to interpret this Logos concept from Mind, many say, "I AM touching it, but can’t bring it through." The "can’t" is the block, the "I don’t have" idea. Hold the inner conviction that it is true and that you can. Loving God enough will lead you to the right step.—Edna Lister, October 15, 1956.

Five steps to freedom of seeing and hearing: "I record. I retain. I recall. I recognize. I remember."—Edna Lister, October 15, 1956.

If you don’t remember what you do in heaven at night, you have built barriers of self.—Edna Lister, December 10, 1956.

Brain cells never wear out. They can be injured, but never change, even when you say, "I’m losing my memory."—Edna Lister, The Brain, Your Instrument of Power, September 24, 1957.

When you forget, you’ve neglected the photographic memory cells. You may forget many illuminations.—Edna Lister, October 23, 1958.

Self occupies the original nucleus of life sparks encased in the physical body, the first outer sheath of inner mind. Each life spark has memory, similar to the photographic memory cells of the brain. Self permeates every cell of your body and is a storage bin of memory, animal characteristics and impressions of every experience.

Imagination automatically calls up these photographic memory cells without your consciously realizing that they are a mass of old, hidden impressions. You either lift or add to memories. You write new negative records when you judge others and so take on their debts in blame. You store evil memories when you allow the little self to take charge.—Edna Lister, Being Without Self, November 2, 1958.

Recollection is the liaison between memory and consciousness.—Edna Lister, Being Without Self, November 2, 1958.

What you learn in this body, you will carry in your midbrain neurons. You write it forever in your record, if you impress it upon the conscious memory cells.—Edna Lister, All Substance Is Universal, May 12, 1959.

These life sparks of soul substance precipitated from Light to ether to gas to fire and cooled to water; they evolved through all stages of creation — gaseous, mineral, vegetable and animal — and carry memory impressions of those states. Each life spark contains a seed of soul at its heart. Life sparks that have evolved through the lower kingdoms contain memory impressions of every experience-expression, each of which can color subconscious mind. The impressions are difficult to erase.—Edna Lister, All Substance Is Universal, May 12, 1959.

Every cell in your body contains the memory of your ancestors; this is heredity.—Edna Lister, The 33 Degrees of Soul Conquering, October 27, 1959.

The information and knowledge that you store in your memory cells do not ascend you; sorting, separating and obeying a few laws at a time does.—Edna Lister, Your Full Birthright, December 6, 1959.

You cannot forgive if you cannot forget. If you still remember an offense, you are only thinking about forgiving. True forgiveness wipes out the memory; you forget because the record is washed white as snow.—Edna Lister, Tomorrow Is Yours, December 13, 1959.

We remember by mental pictures, and this is the basis for photographic memory.—Edna Lister, March 3, 1960.

Conscious mind is the evolving mind of conscious intelligence and conscious desire. Conscious mind is not a creative thinker, although memory and comparison are among its functions. The super-conscious is creative mind.—Edna Lister, What Is Healing? May 17, 1960.

The outer brain cells are instructive and the faculties there are ready to be developed at birth. The first three faculties are mimicry, memory and perception. They are instinctive capacities, related to subconscious development, and stem from our being made in the image and likeness of God. As an infant, you imitate the actions and speech of those around you using mimicry. Your capacity for memory is unlimited, but you must develop it to be usable. Perception gives you the ability to look right through the outer appearance and to know that you know.—Edna Lister, Is it Right to Ask for Myself? June 14, 1960.

"We ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip."—Hebrews 2:1. Ten thousand visual images support every audible image. To make certain not to slip, you must bring Light to your photographic memory. When you study, you use your brain cells to remember, which is why you study.

It is important to open brain cells. It pays to see law written first. The only way not to let things slip when hearing a law is to see it written before you, by visualization. When you write something, you invest your soul substance in it. Just reading and research does not do this unless it becomes part of you. Combine seeing and hearing to equal perfect balance. This power of visualization makes an imprint on memory cells that creates perfect balance for simultaneous hearing and seeing.—Edna Lister, Steadfastness Through Vigilance, June 19, 1960.

You may hear with your ears, but you listen with your brain cells. It is dual: brain cells are lenses that register two pictures, first in the brain cells and then in the eternal memory records. Look up and out until you see it in photographic memory—this is essential.—Edna Lister, What Is Virtue? July 12, 1960.

Everyone tends to forget. Laxness in little ways leads to being a "know nothing." Open more brain cells.—Edna Lister, December 29, 1960.

Your personal computer is in your brain cells, which you’ve packed with the information you’ve gained throughout your total existence. You can never fill its massive capacity. To remember what you’ve stored, call for Light to illumine the area where you recorded that law, and read the answer.—Edna Lister, January 12, 1961.

When you don’t rid yourself of deeply buried, clutching, clawing tentacles of self, the brain cells grow dull.—Edna Lister, January 23, 1961.

Appreciation is necessary to recall law. Lack of appreciation causes more "sleep." The second death is to forget law.—Edna Lister, September 16, 1961.

Every word circles earth seven times before the vibration closes. If it quickens your mind, the seventh impression makes a track in the brain cells. If you are rebellious, willful or hurt, it makes no lasting impression. To hearken means to open completely on the seventh time around. To hear means to set it in your memory for further use and reference. To heed means to hold. To obey means to heed law and live it.—Edna Lister, The Key to Right Action, October 1, 1961.

Subconscious memory carries every experience earth could produce, from the atom through the animal kingdom.—Edna Lister, Your Contact With Cosmic Power, October 8, 1961.

Your eyes see the truth of outer appearance, all the negative stuff. What your eyes focus on, you imprint on the brain’s memory cells and it confronts you in your soul records. You build all you have seen, considered, questioned, criticized and blamed into your memory cells, and carry it with you.—Edna Lister, The Beginning of All Life, May 1, 1962.

Memory is Light itself operating through you. To move up in consciousness and feel the arms of Light about you, to be blinded by Light every second, this is memory. This is remembering and holding your high point of consciousness. When you say, "I can’t do it," you’re saying, "I’m too weak, too frail, too little, too selfish to love God enough."—Edna Lister, March 17, 1963.

If you resent lifting another, your memory cells become congested.—Edna Lister, Now Is the High Time, December 6, 1963.

To regain full use of your own memory cells for worthwhile thoughts, you must cleanse them of all old material, holding only those thoughts that will pay you dividends.—Edna Lister, Five Keys of the Kingdom, 1964.

Never say, "I can’t remember," but, "I don’t recall right now." You can recall because it is in your soul records. Remembering implies forgetting, so use "recall" to awaken brain cells.—Edna Lister, November 10, 1966.

Senility is lack of use of recall, attention, independence and service. Senility begins its encroachment and spreads in the instant you depend on another to remember details for you.—Edna Lister, April 2, 1967.

When people feel as though they have been in same place, done the same thing before, they have an open memory of the associated "lesson."—Edna Lister, God Is Alive! April 29, 1967.

As an infant, you start awakening brain cells to function as the faculties, and to hold ideas. As you grow and unfold, the brain cells begin to expand and specialize. One cell can store an entire book, and the power of recall opens it. Midbrain nerve cells extend to the cortex, crown lotus and stretch into the Mind of God.—Edna Lister, May 19, 1967.

"My memory is going" wanders like an evil spirit. That vagrant memory moves in like a fog to cloud your memory when you need to recall something important.—Edna Lister, October 19, 1967.

World ideas impinge, fill the subconscious mind, and can cause loss of memory.—Edna Lister, October 19, 1967.

Say, "I remember," a hundred times to wipe out every "I forgot."—Edna Lister, October 19, 1967.

Make no negative statements about memory, such as, "I’ll be so busy then, I might not remember to do it." This sets up a whole pattern that causes you to fall back and remember less and less. How long is your memory? How broad is your memory? How deep is your memory? How high is your memory? When you look at memory as one of greatest of God’s potentials functioning through you, you will begin to conquer idle words.—Edna Lister, December 18, 1969.

Forgetting is a desire to escape responsibility, a feeling of repression. Consciousness drops to the solar plexus when "little self" thinks you do "too much." If self doesn’t see it or hear it, it need not do it. You can go to "sleep" and allow the nerves to atrophy. The treatment is to give up self.—Edna Lister, May 7, 1970.

You have an auric sheath around you that contains the Power and Light for your next breath. You have a container for the invisible substance and can keep a record of what goes on, like a filing system. When you wish to file some fact you want to remember, you put it in a pigeon hole. Say, "I’ll use you when I need you." You can then think back to what you have stored there.—Edna Lister, The First Round Table, the Zodiacal Path, May 18, 1971.

Senility is based in repudiation, refusing to accept and see. Some bring the tendency with them, the tendency not to awaken enough active cells of acceptance.—Edna Lister, May 28, 1971.

How long, broad, deep and high is God’s memory? You will begin to conquer the idle words "I can’t remember; I forget" when you recognize memory as one of God’s greatest potentials functioning through you.—Edna Lister, Undated Papers, 1933-1971.

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Treatments for Memory

Treatment to open the brain cells: To treat dull crystallized brain cells, desire wraps a glow about them; however, a charge from an outside battery is necessary to vitalize them. Speak the Word for this. Your words carry Power like a battering ram or machine gun fire when imbued with kinetic power. Therefore, you must be certain that your declarations contain no hatred, resentment or tinge of a predilection for either wisdom or love. Your words and tone must carry the neutral kinetic power itself, nothing more.—Edna Lister, September 19, 1944.

Complaints about our physical equipment are idle words that create illness and aging. For instance, if you have trouble recalling, say, "I have the most beautiful, wonderful memory in this world." Put a poor memory on a cloud to be lifted and absorbed. A good memory is a glory. Draw on the wealth of the universe for everything.—Edna Lister, Your Attitude Toward Man, December 9, 1956.

Treatment for memory loss: "Name’s memory is the memory of God. The Power is flowing from the Mind of God down through the soul records. His memory is omniscient and omnipresent."—Edna Lister, December 20, 1962.

Thank your subconscious for every reminder, and it will give you a super memory in all ways.—Edna Lister, What Caused the Chaos? June 25, 1963.

To contemplate in the Light is a memory cure because the divine fire of the living God awakens any sleeping memory cells.—Edna Lister, Choice, Your Glorious Foundation, October 16, 1966.

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Stories That Illustrate Memory

The Rich Man and the Beggar: There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I AM tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.—Luke 16:19-31.

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New Testament on Memory and Remembering

A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.—John 16:21.

We ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.—Hebrews 2:1.

This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.—Hebres 8:10-12.

One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.—Philippians 3:13-14.

Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.—James 1:22-25.

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Old Testament on Memory and Remembering

To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like? They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship. They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble. Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. Remember the former things of old: for I AM God, and there is none else; I AM God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.—Isaiah 46:5-10.

He who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.—Isaiah 65:16-17.

I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept thy law. This I had, because I kept thy precepts.—Psalm 119:55-56.

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh.—Ecclesiastes 12:1.

Remember your Creator before...the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.—Ecclesiastes 12:6. {The silver cord binds soul to body; the golden bowl is the head, which holds the higher creative center, the seat of soul.}

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Memory and Remembering in Other Sacred Writings

In the day of prosperity there is a forgetfulness of affliction: and in the day of affliction there is no more remembrance of prosperity.—Wisdom of Ben Sirach 11:25.

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of memory: Latin memoria, from memor, "mindful."

Memory is an abstract principle.

Memory is a law of being.

Remembering is a law of doing.

A good memory is a soul virtue

Memory is an instinctive mental faculty.


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Nag Hammadi Library. James M. Robinson, ed. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988.

New World Encyclopedia contributors, Anamnesis, New World Encyclopedia, (accessed October 8, 2021).

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Webster, Noah. Webster’s American Dictionary. New York: S. Converse, 1828.

Related Topic

Plato’s Doctrine of Recollection