Saturday, August 8, 2009

On Memory

Dunedin North, May 2009, JB

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
Roy Batty in Bladerunner (1982) [ad-libbed by Rutger Hauer]

The fragmentary and partial. The small elements of memory that make up a life. The shoebox of letters placed in the recycling bin - a line drawn in the sand. One day soon to return re-formed, reincarnated, as an egg carton. The photographs on the lost camera card, fading in the mind's eye, vaporising. The unrecorded impressions. The flooding of the mind, the eyes, when the wintersweet flowers. The optimism of a freesia. Soon springing into summer, a winter's worth of reverie to be catalogued, from the fug of hibernation into lucidity ...

Man is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end ... one can certainly wager that man would be erased, like a face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea.
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things (1966)

For when you look back on the whole past course of immeasurable time and think how manifold are the shapes which the motions of matter take, you may easily believe that these very same seeds of which we now are formed have often before been placed in the same order in which they now are; and yet we cannot recover this in memory: a break in our exis­tence has been interposed, and all the motions have wandered to and fro far astray from the sensations they produced.
Lucretius, On the Nature of Things (50 BC)


Anonymous said...

“…and these are my many letters
torn to pieces by long fingered hands…”
Nick Cave

“…And the little waves with their soft white hands
Efface the footprints in the sands
And the tide rises and the tide falls…”

The line in the sand will have to be re-drawn later, as a remembered approximation.

(I've always loved that monologue from Blade Runner - made a big impression when I first saw it many moons ago).

thanks Jacky.

jacky bowring said...

Very fine echoes through the ether, many thanks Bruno.

Full version of Blade Runner just screened on one of the marginal tv channels - no voiceover etc, truly sublime ...