2010-06-10 / Musings

Hugger-mugger

“Once upon a time , in some ou t of the

way corner of that uni verse which is dispersed

int o number less t winkling solar

systems, there was a star upon w hich

clever beasts invented knowing. That was

the most arr ogant and mendacious minute

of w orld history, but nevertheless, it

was only a minute.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche,

On Truth and Lies

It is very hard to remember anything worth remembering. Remembering that which might bring new understanding into the present experience is cunning available only to those already seriously bound for waking. This kind of knowing is the skill of a mind full of potential, of a heart wide open, of a being gushing with the freedom and inexhaustibility of a fountain. Usually we remember what we already “know,” re-membering the narrative, squeezing it into a familiar slot. We trim the recalcitrant puzzle piece to fit. We box it up, locked and stocked and barreled. We freeze the mind stream so we can walk across. So there is no need to watch. But that which we believe to have captured and tamed has really imprisoned us. There is no capacity to watch. And there is even less capacity to be, simply, between watching and the imprisoned stories.

That which is new, not immersed in the solidity of the expected, is more vulnerable than the morning dew. The dew may quickly evaporate, but the new may not even temporarily coalesce. Remember the Indians who could not see the Spanish galleons approaching their shore. Remember rain forest dwellers who see large distant animals as ants. Those who smuggled bodies out of graves to do early illegal autopsies opened those cadavers to see only undifferentiated bloody meat masses. Organs would only emerge much later when the dissectors knew they were there. Those blind from birth whose retinas are surgically corrected are not immediately given vision of tables and chairs. They must learn to see these things which only slowly emerge out of a tangle of raw sensory data. Those fitted with hearing aids must, in similar fashion, construct language and meaning out of sound bits.

It is all trompe l’oeil. We know and we remember whited sepulchers full of pretense and pretended preciousness. The blue sky peeking out above rain forest canopy entanglement is not sky and is not blue. It is merely; it is beyond grasp and remembrance.

The H.M. of scientific literary fame, Henry Gustav Molaison, had a bicycle accident at age 9. After this he suffered epileptic seizures. A surgery ablating his hippocampus was successful in eliminating his seizures. But he also developed severe memory loss. He could no longer successfully create new longterm memories. He also lost many memories of the time before the surgery.

Are we so very different? Do we have something that H.M. lost? Our memories are, after all, constructed

in accordance with present

needs, desires, influences.

Then in the quiet of night already shadowy

day events are turned into dreams.

Jean Piaget,

biologist, philosopher,

and psychologist, wrote about the

memory he had of the attempted kidnapping that he experienced as a child in a baby carriage. His nurse, he remembered, fought the attacker who scratched her face. Her screams brought the police who apprehended the villain. He had completely clear memory of the event. The story was told and re-told into solidity until the nurse confessed, 13 years later, that the event never occurred.

We are memories of memories. We are merely secretly whispered cloak-anddagger surreptitious undercover underground. We are confused mumbo-jumbo. We are higgledly-piggledy topsy-turvy jumbled disorder.

We hoard what we do not have. We are less than short term — less than George A. Miller’s seven plus or minus two bits of possible.

Nietzsche says it well: There are no facts; there are only interpretations. He also said: “I am not a man. I am dynamite.”

But the magician wiggles his fingers in the visual periphery and sings of the shiny things there. And we look, seeing exactly what we knew we would. 

— Rx is the FloridaW eekly muse who

hopes to inspire profound mutiny in all

those who care to read. Our Rx ma y be

wearing a pir ate cloak of in visibility, but

emanating fr om within this shado w is

hope that readers will feel free to respond.

Who kno ws: You may e ven inspir e the

muse. Make contact if you dare.

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