There are different forms of recollection – the first and most fundamental, is, ‘I remember,’ when we take images of the past and hold them in our mind’s eye. Ghosts, they dance before us, transient, temporary, some more vivid than others;
The second recollection is when an old photo or film is shown; when you see yourself age eight, smiling – this is more concrete; you might see past events – the General Belgrano, Tiananmen Square, 1994 in South Africa.
You can’t argue with what you see; the interpretation might be different – I see the man standing in front of the tank from one perspective; the official view of the Chinese Government is likely different; what did the man see? What did they think?
Then, there are the memories that others have about you; these are the spirits that inhabit a nether-world of collective consciousness.
My grandfather running his fingers over my head-stubble; standing in the cockpit of the 1985 El Al plane and chatting with the purser; looking-up and seeing my two-year-old son approach as I lie on the resus trolley.
There is my memory of the events and the memory or not, of the other; when that other person has gone, the memory exists only with me, it an never fully be ratified; when another is involved, their perspective can influence the interpretation.
I remember you, you remember me. We see each other differently, yet the moment is the same.
Picasso painting the Three Dancers saw that the world is more than we see, it is what is in front and behind, it is what is before and after, all the dimensions including time convey the meaning.
So, what is real?
When can I rely on my memory?
Should we accept that we can never be certain about the past because of the effects of time, of impression, influence and interpretation. Or, should we go with what we believe to be true.
I heard the other day about a new digital concept. Imagine in the future, we are able, somehow, to integrate cameras into our eyes, so that everything we see, all that we look-at is captured in a cloud repository; add to that audio, and you have a film of your life experience;
And then, if you want, you can return to that event last year and re-play it; perhaps walking down the sunny street aired during the winter blues, swimming with dolphins when you are worried about the outcome of a test. Plug this in to VR and away you go.
Many say that this is fanciful and unlikely to ever be possible; let’s wait and see.
How I would love to feel or perceive once more the fingers running over my head, or squeezing into the armchair with my mum when I was four, or, or.
It is funny when I see people, particularly at this time, so very certain in their analyses. When the politicisation of everything is everywhere, where people try to manipulate perspectives and force upon others their beliefs.
How tangled and murky it becomes. Fake news, fake communique, you said that I said you said and, so on.
For the literalists, I have little to offer. The relativists, however, let’s keep going.