Abracadabra: Language, Memory, Representation


George Santayana: Those who do not remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.

Walter Benjamin: "Memory is not an instrument for exploring the past but its theatre. It is the medium of past experience, as the ground is the medium in which dead cities lie interred."

Marcel Proust: "Our memory is like a shop in the window of which is exposed now one, now another photograph of the same person. And as a rule the most recent exhibit remains for some time the only one to be seen."

Primo Levi: "Human memory is a marvelous but fallacious instrument.... The memories which lie within us are not carved in stone; not only do they tend to become erased as the years go by, but often they change, or even increase by incorporating extraneous features."

T.H. Huxley: "The memory loaded with mere bookwork is not the thing wanted?is, in fact, rather worse than useless?in the teacher of scientific subjects. It is absolutely essential that his mind should be full of knowledge and not of mere learning, and that what he knows should have been learned in the laboratory rather than in the library."

Eugene Ionesco: "The light of memory, or rather the light that memory lends to things, is the palest light of all.... I am not quite sure whether I am dreaming or remembering, whether I have lived my life or dreamed it. Just as dreams do, memory makes me profoundly aware of the unreality, the evanescence of the world, a fleeting image in the moving water."

Corneille: "It takes good memory to keep up a lie."

J.M. Barrie: "God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December."

Luis Bneul: "You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all, just as an intelligence without the possibility of expression is not really an intelligence. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing."

Nietzsche: "The advantage of having a bad memory is that you can enjoy the same good things for the first time several times."

Christopher M. Kelty
Last modified: Wed Feb 19 09:58:26 CST 2003