William James on consciousness and memory:
The stream of thought flows on; but most of its segments fall into the bottomless abyss of oblivion. Of some, no memory survives the instant of their passage. Of others, it is confined to a few moments, hours or days. Others, again, leave vestiges which are indestructible, and by means of which they may be recalled as long as life endures.
A few articulate words from one of America's (and NY's own) first psychologists about how most of our conscious mental experience is fleeting and inconsequential.
James was a prominent in developing many important psychological principals, for instance pragmatism. As well, James, along with is contemporary Carl Lange, developed the perspective that emotions are minds interpretation of physiological conditions arising from external stimulus. The famous example is that you see a bear, sweat, run and then become afraid.
James also made important contributions to philosophy of religion, and was actively involved in exploring mystical experiences