Quincey, Thomas de - The inscriptions remain forever
Type of Spiritual Experience
There are two observations in one in this quote, one for the relative who drowned and one for Quincey himself, hence the odd list of activities
A description of the experience
Thomas de Quincy – Confessions of an English Opium Eater
The minutest incidents of childhood, or forgotten scenes of later years, were often revived. I could not be said to recollect them; for if I had been told of them when waking, I should not have been able to acknowledge them as parts of my past experience. But placed as they were before me, in dreams like intuitions and clothed in all their evanescent circumstances and accompanying feelings, I recognised them instantly.
I was once told by a near relative of mine, that having in her childhood fallen into a river, and being on the very verge of death but for the assistance that reached her at the last critical moment, she saw in a moment her whole life, clothed in its forgotten incidents, arrayed before her as if in a mirror, not successively but simultaneously; and she had a faculty developed as suddenly for comprehending the whole and every part.
This, from some opium experiences I can believe; I have, indeed, seen the same thing asserted twice in modern books and accompanied by a remark which is probably true – viz that the dread book of account, which the Scriptures speak of is in fact the mind of each individual. Of this, at least, I feel assured, that there is no such thing as ultimate forgetting; traces once impressed upon the memory [perceptions log] are indestructible; a thousand accidents may and will interpose a veil between our present consciousness and the secret inscriptions on the mind. Accidents of the same sort will also rend away the same veil. But alike, whether veiled or unveiled, the inscription remains for ever.