April 30, 2009

Book of Memory

In this world, there is no memory.

The dream is 20 May 1905, and Lightman (Einstein) imagines a world where people carry around address books to remember where they live, notebooks to remember people and places. When arriving home at night, "each man finds a woman and children waiting at the door, introduces himself," while "each woman returning home from her job meets a husband, children, sofas, lamps, wallpaper, china patterns."

Each kiss is the first kiss.

"A world without memory is a world of the present." These people carry around their history, contained in their own Book of Life. They have to reread the pages daily to discover anything about their families, history, whether they did poorly in school or whether they have accomplished anything in life.

Some days feel like that to me, but to my young students, this condition happens when their grandmother calls them the dog's name or they look at their grandfather, who is certifiably daft. They tell stories of the elderly and exchange knowing looks, confirming that this is some disease in the future. But I have plenty of emails in my box saying "Oh No! I forgot!" to believe them totally. For those without memory, the present is all there is.

Each time I see my grandchildren, perhaps I add a page to their Book of Life. I play and read with them for at their age, with their short memories, this is all I have--the present.

1 comment:

  1. I keep coming here to write something, then I get distracted and forget what I was going to write so I have to go back to remind myself what the post was about then I come here, get distracted....that's what my memory is like today. :)