[-empyre-] Welcome to Mickey

Madeleine Reich Casad mir9 at cornell.edu
Thu Nov 15 15:02:48 EST 2007

Hi John,

On Nov 14, 2007, at 4:09 AM, John Hopkins wrote:
> what happens when all memory is external?  will this mean that we  
> will be living in the perfect Zen dream of be-here-now?  or that we  
> would be constantly repeating our mistakes?

I think this is a crucial question.  But isn't it also possible to  
ask if memory is ever external?

> as for errors, is there a difference between internal embodied  
> memory errors and external disembodied memory errors?  are there  
> different consequences?  False memory could be dangerous in terms  
> of survival...
> I don't see a difference in preserving any (material) form of  
> external memory.  it is a thermo-dynamic function.  without a more- 
> or-less constant influx of energy to maintain order, memory will  
> dissolve into its component energies and dissipate into the  
> background radiation of the universe -- ensuring that there is a  
> constant source of low-level memory of what the universe is  
> composed of.
> Maintaining an archive requires energy.  Doing documentation  
> requires that (at least someone's) attention be focused on both  
> archive (future) and the process itself (present).

> Each time the Self makes a document there is at least a partial  
> stepping-out of lived experience into the abstracted world of the  
> document.  It is in this abstracted world where we are most in  
> danger of losing connection to primary experience and ultimately  
> our embeddedness in the continuum which is all.

It's not the abstraction itself so much as our response to it that  
poses this danger.  To me the key word here is 'partial'; I would  
phrase it "only ever partial".  There are different ways to enter a  
relationship with a document, but we never leave lived experience  
> Representation forces us to step out.  Can one live by the act of  
> representation, or ???

There is a logic and an economy of re-presentation that exists  
simultaneously with other modes of experience and interaction.  It's  
never the entire story, but it's located within specific material,  
cultural, and intersubjective conditions that define our sense of  
necessity and discipline our sense of possibility.  The energies in  
this field of interaction can be imbalanced, in the manner of  
unsustainable energy consumption, and I guess that more or less  
describes the world we live in, but I don't think this is either an  
inevitable human condition or a necessary consequence of abstraction  

How can we think or experience the movement between abstraction and  
specificity in ways that permit the preservation of memory, as a  
necessary "survival" and navigational tool, without endorsing an  
imbalanced and violently limiting economy of representation?

> Of course documentation can be a re-presentative act in itself.   
> one which places the observer at that place at that time which is  
> different than subsequent after-the-fact re-play...

Would you please say more about this?


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