Sep 27, 2007

Wendell Berry

Most people, one hopes, would not consider themselves improved by having killed someone, though, having done so, they would know more about it than before. There is no culture I know of that has not held that good people must refuse to know some things. -- Wendell Berry, in a debate about space colonies

As digital-storage capacities reach seemingly boundless proportions, however, some thinkers are becoming nervous about the unintended consequences of memory technology... New forms of memory are permanent and accessible from anywhere. As their reach grows, scholars are asking if now - perhaps for the first time in human history - we need to find ways to forget. -- Jessica Winter, in Advantages of Amnesia

To think is to forget a difference, to generalize, to abstract. In the overly replete world of Funes there were nothing but details, almost contiguous details. The equivocal clarity of dawn penetrated along the earthen patio. -- Jorge Luis Borge, in Funes, the Memorious

As a form of parapraxis, forgetting combines partial failure with partial success and must be distinguished from the customary psychological form of forgetting, a successful act of repression. The dreamer who has forgotten his dream tries to reconstruct it, but in doing so, constructs it anew: "It is indeed possible that while trying to retell it, we fill in the blanks created by forgetting using new material arbitrarily chosen." -- on Sigmund Freud and forgetting in psychoanalysis