Another way of getting it wrong: for Jane

Misremembering is something that can sometimes be (mis)understood.  When we remember something it is inevitably in variance with that remembered thing.  There is no way to be conscious every aspect of a thing, nor of our perception of it.  Further, even if such consciousness were available to us, it wouldn’t take into account the inherent aspects of things that, having changed places, characteristics, and finally come into our (or did we invade it’s?) perception(s). This is the case with subject-to-subject interaction no less than subject-to-object interaction.

Misremembering something is also clearly a creative act.  Our memories of things include (usually at a subconscious level) how we were feeling at that point, what we were paying attention to, etc.  Thus we “create” a sense of what something was that is, of course, a sense of who we are in relation to the thing itself. Every subject and object is already infused with its own “noise,” extra information that occludes the object or subject from seeing or from being seen (by “see” I refer to perception in its widest sense). But it is also noise that is part of the thing itself. That is to say, our various systems of recognition, encoding and decoding, consciousness and perception are NOT based, whether empirically or ideally, on the notion that existence aside, things have thingness to them that while perhaps ineluctable is nevertheless present and capable of being accounted, or at least considered as a factor in creating a system of phenomenology, psychology, cognitive science, etc. It is the hidden yet still unconsciously perceived accretion of details through history that account for the constant coming-into-being and created-by-othersness that characterizes the finally unfinished complexities of thinkers from Descartes to Husserl to Freud.

Perception doesn’t misremember.  Perception creates intuition from consciousness, from there reason and reaction, chronology and place, and finally the complete internalization of the event of having been in a body perceiving a subject or object. This internalization becomes meaningful.  And finally the meaningfulness of the thing having meaning– the thingness of ourselves and the thing being perceived, not the thing remembered – becomes part of our recollection of an event.  Stepping outside of consciousness and stipulating a conscious brain that can recognize and recollect itself, by itself, has always been a vexed question.

We are not misremembering; we are recalling quite correctly. We remember ourselves in the world, and thus our memories are not our own.  But this should not cause consternation. For that “thingness” is something, which, delightfully, is the material and metaphysical wholeness of our being. We are each other’s thoughts and memories, yet each of us is also ourselves for ourselves in ourselves.  Shifting the focus from inside/outside, subject/object, fact/feeling, to a vindication of our creational habits is the best gift we can give ourselves. Things are not just becoming-into-being; they are creating-into-being.


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