Monday, November 19, 2007

We were speaking of memory, as I recall . . .

Well, indirectly, at any rate. No narrative traditionally (that is, Aristotlianly) understood, after all, cannot exist except in relation to some clearly demarcated end--no matter whether the narrative we speak of is a writer's or an autobiographer's or our recounting of our our own adventures on the planet.

But as is usually the case, someone can--and has--said this more eloquently and learnedly than I. My bloggy friend Raminagrobis has a newish post up that addresses precisely the intersection between memory and narrative. I hope you'll go pay him a visit.


R. Sherman said...

Thanks for pointing out the link.

I suppose it depends on one's world view. If we believe life is nothing but a series of random, Darwinian coin flips, then yeah, our sanity depends upon stitching a unifying narrative together. Perhaps our sanity depends upon that, as the second question of all philosophy is "Who am I?"

The spiritual among us believe that the narrative for us exists and that we discover it; perhaps as it occurs, perhaps only in hindsight. The reasons for this are the same as above: our sanity, our self-image depend upon our ability to do so. It's only when we cease to see the narrative, that despair sets in.

Or maybe I just need another cup of coffee.


John B. said...

Well, yes--not that you need more coffee, but that our journey as Christians, in narratological terms, serves as a frame narrative of sorts; it provides a matrix within/out of which emerges a way of reading our way and gives a direction to the future that, ideally, shapes our choices in the present. For a Christian, losing that frame or having confidence in its validity shaken indeed does lead to despair.