MEMORY: the tenuous linkages that bind ones existence

Against the ever-changing background of the universe, a memory is an attempted reconstruction by an awareness of previous entities and events within the sequence of experience. A memory is a reconstruction in chaos from chaos. Things and states of affairs can never be put back together exactly the way they were, and their recollections are only ever clustered together as a seemingly appropriate set of associations. Pieces are misplaced or corrupted by time. Purposes, motives and grand designs are lost. Periodicities become jumbled as days become weeks and what seems like yesterday has been aged by the decades. Even the very sands of what appears to be a stable reality change with each successive tide. Although... in a very general physical sense... memory can be thought of as a site of information storage nevertheless... from the perspective of an awareness... it is the virtual network of associations from which the reconstruction of previous states of affairs is attempted. Such a construct... from an essentially chaotic universe... will be no less chaotic than its source, and yet it must be assumed by the individual to be closely related to what actually occurred. Verifying the validity and authenticity of such reconstructions... particularly from a single source... is quite problematic and yet it is the only process whereby the individual can build a model of its existence.

Reconstructing an event from memory is similar to, and no easier than, reassembling a dismembered timepiece. Remembering is often imagined to be akin to turning the hands of a clock back in time as it were, but in reality it is more like attempting to reassemble a virtual model of a dis-assembled clock. The mind must collect together virtual copies of all the component parts... which have all been stored in different locations... and reconstruct a kind of virtual model of the clock without a plan of what it should look like. Unless meticulous records are kept, it is highly improbable that the memory model will image the original exactly, or that the virtual hands will be put back to exactly where they were.

The personal recollections of individuals are rarely vigorously challenged during the everyday interactions of social communications, but when the occasion demands, and detailed evidence is trawled for, serious deviations and deletions and enhancements are more often exposed than not. The certainty expressed about the veracity of certain memories and the belief that events were exactly as recalled can never to be accepted without question. A single individual memory is intrinsically fallible and needs many aids to consolidate recollections with any hope of reliability. Without photo albums, diaries, shopping lists and financial records, life is conducted in a chaos of guesswork and vulnerability. Without museums, libraries, statues and architectural fossils, a culture will have no idea how its history has prepared its present.
Our identity is our memories, not memories in isolation, but linked by communication. To a greater or lesser extent we are all part of one another's memories. Part of what it is that we call ourselves consists of those memories which we have of one another. We are a togetherness of recollection. Our memories and our dreams are the very substance of stars... however extravagant that suggestion might seem... and we are participants in a creative and enforming energy that builds upon and complexifies the past. Everything participates in and is related to the cycles of the chaotic creative process that is the cosmos. Without memory there cannot be a concept of time. In fact without memory there is no 'time' at all if it cannot be shown to be an intrinsic element of the cosmos.