People Live On In Our Memories

When a deep purple falls
Over sleepy garden walls
And the stars begin to twinkle in the night

In the mist of a memory
You wander back to me
Breathing my name with a sigh

In the still of the night
Once again I hold you tight
Though you’re gone, your love lives on
When moonlight beams

And as long as my heart will beat,
Sweet lover we’ll always meet
Here in my deep purple dreams
Here in my deep purple dreams

Deep Purple
       — Written by Parish Mitchell and De Rose Peter in the 1930’s
       — Recorded by Nino Temple and April Stevens in 1968

People who have passed away do “live on” in our memory. The are no longer alive biologically, but a complex and many-faceted representation of them almost always lives on in our mind; in our brain.  Over time, this mental representation itself usually fades away like ripples spreading outward from a stone thrown into a pond, and then ends completely when we ourselves pass away.

In one’s old age, however, the memory of loved ones often intensifies as the aging mind revisits its days of childhood, youth, and earlier adulthood. In these cases, the “concentric ripples” endure or even increase in strength over the years of advanced age.

Famous people can engender mental representations (“ripples”) that go on for years, even for centuries, after their deaths. Such people include popular or acclaimed authors, composers, architects, leaders, inventors, actors, scientists, explorers and scholars. Many of them produce or are the subject of films, books, muscial scores, and historical records that are a kind of “cultural memory” that is repeatedly “downloaded” from books, films, and recordings into the individual minds of successive generations of new human beings.  Each time it is so downloaded into a living mind, the deceased person becomes “alive” again. This kind of “life” is often called “fame.”

For a more detailed treatment of this topic, see my Essay, Dealing With Death on The Path of G>O>D>. That essay is part of The Book of Continuing Creation: A Spiritual Path Based on Nature, Reason, and Science. The book can be found (and read for free) on my website,

— J.X. Mason’s Blog, 8-12-2021

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