Memory and Perceptions


We do not necessarily forget as we get older,
... but we do reorder the priorities of the mind differently


"Memory's unreliable ... Memory's not perfect. It's not even that good. Ask the police; eyewitness testimony is unreliable ... Memory can change the shape of a room or the color of a car. It's an interpretation, not a record. Memories can be changed or distorted, and they're irrelevant if you have the facts."

- Memento





"We are all familiar with the worrying sensation that time seems to pass by and more swiftly as we age

6/22/17 - - My plan for this page is to expand the views of Socrates and Plato on literacy and memory to include John Rickard and Angela Chen

Ulysses leads us ineluctably beyond

Are you forgetful? That's just your brain erasing useless memories
Angela Chen, The Verge
The purpose of memory might not be to record everything.


Joyce's Book of Memory: The Mnemotechnic of Ulysses - John S. Rickard

Study of memory: passivist and activist models.

Plato and Aristotle "secularized" memory as simply "an instrument of dialectical inquiry" and a twice-removed reflection of imperfect reflections of perfect forms, Mnemosyne has gradually lost her stature in the West. Once the Mother of the Muses, the inspiration of poets, a virtually omniscient deity, she has become mechanical: a mirror that reflects the quotidian occurrences filling the tabulae of the human mind from birth, or even a computer-a machine that stores and retrieves data. As Casey puts it: "Where once Mnemosyne was a venerated Goddess, we have turned over responsibility for remembering to the cult of the computers, which serve as our modern mnemonic idols". Casey argues that because "we tend to regard [the past] as something merely 'fixed' and 'dead'.

The past as simply collectible and retrievable data. Mnemosyne has fallen from her throne, and in her place rules Lesmosyne, for as Casey points out, our major modern theoreticians of memory-Nietzsche, Freud, Martin Heidegger, and Hermann Ebbinghaus-approach memory "through the counterphenomenon of forgetting" (7).

the tendency to reduce all mnemonic functions to simple replication and retrieval and to deny or ignore what he calls the "transcendent aspects of memory" by insisting on "the intimate link between memory and the personal past"

The other approach to memory, according to Casey, is activism, which views memory as at once a more unreliable and more powerful function of the mind. For the activist, according to Casey, "memory involves the creative transformation of experience rather than its internalized reduplication in images or traces construed as copies.

Paradigm for the activist view is provided by the metaphor of the "search," accompanied by the assumption that this search through the past is rarely a straightforward process of retrieval, but rather a creative or active search back through language and experience guided by imagination and as dependent on the contexts of the present as on the past.

Freud's later writings can be classed within this activist tradition, for he came to feel that "the weak spot in the security of our mental life [is] the untrustworthiness of our memory". On reflection, Freud found that in his case studies of neurotic patients such as the Wolf Man, what he had once seen as "primal scenes" reconstructed from the actual earliest memories of his patients were actually constructions rather than literal reconstructions.

Does memory mummify or "mumorise" the past, that is, store it away in an unchanging and unchangeable form that can be "dug up" years later-or is memory a form of "mummery".






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