[ilds] Tunc 1.2.1 & 2.1.1 | memory...

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Thu May 19 13:57:48 PDT 2016


Hello all,

I wonder if I might propose a thought to chew.  We run into determinism, 
memory, and recording devices that transform speech to text (though not 
text to speech, so far as I've noticed), and I've suggested that 
determinism related to fear of the will-less utopia in Dostoevksy and 
concerns of intentionality -- how then do we see these in relation to 
each other?

I'm struck by the Nube in 2.1.1 (p. 29 in Faber) in which Iolanthe's 
mispronounced name "makes her real name private property. She belongs, 
then, to Number Seven, and the Nube, to the eternal Athens which 
miraculously still survives outside memory."

This is odd.  She's dead in part because of being owned by the Firm, and 
here Charlock celebrates her being own by the space she inhabited rather 
than the reverse -- much like the mindless inhabitants of the city in 
the Quartet who only find freedom by retreating to the rural where they 
can write and be individuals.  Likewise, surviving by virtue of being 
outside memory or records is odd -- we typically think of that which is 
gone from memory or records as being "lost."

It's very much a follow-on from Charlock's note on the bathroom wall: "I 
think the control of human memory is essential for any kind of future 
advance of the species. The refining of false time is the issue." 1.2.1 
(p. 20).  Likewise, even reading this part of the novel, we are 
continuously reminded that "Konx" is unread since it turns on the 
dactyl, but every ending includes the "Om" to shut it off.  We have 
these controls over human memory from writing, which is actually how 
1.2.1 ends: "'Tap Tap, the chick raps on the outer shell in order to 
free itself — literature! Memory and identity. /Om/.'" (p. 21).

Memory, records, and identity are entangled here, and it's almost as if 
enough information could be gathered or enough experience remembered 
then the issues of "choice" or "freedom" would reduce down to a 
deterministic world that we simply don't understand at present.  At 
least, that's Abel's promise.

Charlock even describes his dactyl and Abel as "my obsession with the 
construction of memory-tools" and "The development of memory!" in 1.3.1 
(p. 22 & 23).  If we missed it, he adds in the same section "How 
relative it seems from Number Seven, the little matter of the living and 
the dead.  Death is a matter of complete irrelevance so long as the 
memory umbilicus holds." (p. 24).  And in that we're back to Little 
Hans, the repetition compulsion, and the umbilical string for his 
fort/da game.

Indeed, he goes so far in 2.4.1 as to add "Now I know that everything is 
remediable, that finally somehow somewhere memory is fully recoverable." 
(p. 53)

Iolanthe is indeed free by virtue of being "outside memory."  Freedom 
means death, but so does remembering and recovering...

At least, that's what is catching me on this read through.

All best,
James


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