PRINT March 1991


Memory—the form of representation that mediates between man and gods, between the worlds of alteration and exaltation, between sensation and cognition, between the near and the far, which holds within it distance. Memory as judgment, destroying fantasies of completion; a tool mapping illusion, displacing infancy; as the form of inquiry into its assumption, dissolving nostalgia. As its own object that it itself opens to experiment, its own object at long remove. The memory that is the index of history is the gauge of distinctions. Memory as a form of skepticism, as awareness of its longing, its fulfillment an investigation into its hope. The opposition to the founding of new myths, new plots to disregard truths. The memory that finds as its purpose the imperative that knowledge be reconstituted, as against its being a confirmation of feeling. The memory that has its objects unjoined (idolatry is one result of their joining). Memory is two things: itself and another thing. Irony resides in this double. By virtue of its inquiry into its assumption, it is the image of dialectic. The double aspect thereby assembles reality. The silence between its representations is the fact of its truth. (The double: a token for the exoteric and esoteric character of invention. The perfected joke.) Memory as recognition: the ideal of human progress that organizes chaos, and that is integration, is falsehood. The double: a dramatic unit, acting and being acted upon, one an external thing for the other, an internal thing. So for one, the other is knowledge, and it itself perception. So for one, the other is an object of contemplation, it itself sense. So one is direct awareness, the other its meaning; together a judgment, memory as judgment, or the marriage of subject and object (the symbol). Two organs: of sight, of insight. The memory that contemplates mental things and bodily things in terms of one another.