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memory (mèm´e-rê) noun
1. The mental faculty of retaining and recalling past experience.
2. The act or an instance of remembering; recollection: spent the afternoon lost in memory.
3. All that a person can remember: It hasn't happened in my memory.
4. Something remembered: pleasant childhood memories.
5. The fact of being remembered; remembrance: dedicated to their grandparents' memory.
6. The period of time covered by the remembrance or recollection of a person or group of persons: within the memory of humankind.
7. Biology. Persistent modification of behavior resulting from an animal's experience.
8. Computer Science. a. A unit of a computer that preserves data for retrieval. b. Capacity for storing information: two million bytes of memory.
9. Statistics. The set of past
events affecting a given event in a stochastic process.
10. The capacity of a material, such as plastic or metal, to return to a previous shape after deformation.
[Middle English memorie, from Anglo-French, from Latin memoria, from memor, mindful.]
Synonyms: memory, remembrance, recollection, reminiscence. These nouns denote the act or an instance of remembering, or something remembered. Memory is the faculty of retaining and reviving impressions or recalling past experiences: He has a bad memory for facts and figures. "Even memory is not necessary for love" (Thornton Wilder). The word also applies to something recalled to the mind, a sense in which it often suggests a personal, cherished quality: "My earliest memories were connected with the South" (Thomas B. Aldrich). Remembrance most often denotes the process or act of recalling: The remembrance of his humiliation was almost too painful to bear. Recollection is sometimes interchangeable with memory: My recollection of the incident differs from yours. Often, though, the term suggests a deliberate, concentrated effort to remember: After a few minutes' recollection she produced the answer. Reminiscence is the act or process of recollecting past experiences or events within one's personal knowledge: "Her mind seemed wholly taken up with reminiscences of past gaiety" (Charlotte Brontë). When the word refers to what is remembered, it may involve the sharing of the recollection with another or others: They spent some time in reminiscence before turning to the business that had brought them together.
The goddess of memory, mother of the Muses.
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.
Luis Buñuel (1900-1983), Spanish filmmaker. My Last Sigh, ch. 1 (1983).
It is singular how soon we lose the impression of
what ceases to be constantly before us. A year impairs, a lustre
obliterates. There is little distinct left without an effort of memory,
then indeed the lights are rekindled for a
moment-but who can be sure that the Imagination is
not the torch-bearer?
Lord Byron (1788-1824), English poet. Detached Thoughts, no. 51 (1821-22; published in Byron's Letters and Journals, vol. 9, ed. by Leslie A. Marchand, 1979).
The more a man can forget, the
greater the number of metamorphoses which his life can undergo, the
more he can remember the more divine his life becomes.
Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55), Danish philosopher. The Journals of Søren Kierkegaard: A Selection, no. 429 (ed. and tr. by Alexander Dru, 1938), entry for 1842.
The struggle of man against
power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.
Milan Kundera (b. 1929), Czech author, critic. Mirek, in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, pt. 1, ch. 2 (1978; tr. 1980).
The true art of memory is the art of attention.
Samuel Johnson (1709-84), English author, lexicographer. The Idler, no. 74, in Universal Chronicle (London, 15 Sept. 1759; repr. in Works of Samuel Johnson, vol. 2, ed. by W. J. Bate, John M. Bullitt and L. F. Powell, 1963).
In memory everything seems to
happen to music.
Tennessee Williams (1914-83), U.S. dramatist. Tom, in The Glass Menagerie, sc. 1 (1944).
We are able to find everything
in our memory, which is like a dispensary or chemical laboratory in
which chance steers our hand sometimes to a soothing drug and
sometimes to a dangerous poison.
Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Remembrance of Things Past, vol. 10, "The Captive," pt. 2, ch. 3 (1923; tr. by Ronald and Colette Cortie, 1988).
The effectiveness of our memory banks is determined
not by the total number of facts we take in, but the number we wish to
Jon Wynne-Tyson (b. 1924), British author. Food for a Future, ch. 2 (1975).
Obviously the facts are never
just coming at you but are incorporated by an imagination
that is formed by your previous experience. Memories of the past are
not memories of facts but memories of your imaginings of the facts.
Philip Roth (b. 1933), U.S. novelist. The Facts, opening letter to Zuckerman (1988).
UMA (U`M-A') noun
Acronym for Upper Memory Area. The portion of DOS memory between the first 640K and 1 megabyte. Compare high memory area.
ON OUR NATURE. It is proper to say: we appear to be memory coils (DNA carriers capable of experience) in a computer-like thinking system which, although we have correctly recorded and stored thousands of years of experiential information, and each of us possesses somewhat different deposits from all the other life forms, there is a malfunction - a failure- of memory retrieval. There lies the trouble in our particular subcircuit. "Salvation" through gnosis - more properly anamnesis (the loss of amnesia) - although it has individual significance for each of us - a quantum leap in perception, identity, cognition, understanding, world- and self-experience, including immortality - it has greater and further importance for the system as a whole, inasmuch as these memories are data needed by it and valuable to it, to its overall functioning.
Therefore it is in the process of self-repair, which includes: rebuilding our subcircuit via linear and orthogonal time changes, as well as continual signaling to us to stimulate blocked memory banks within us to fire and hence retrieve what is there.
The external informational or gnosis, then, consists
of disinhibiting instructions, with the core content actually intrinsic
to us - that is, already there (first observed by Plato; viz: that
learning is a form of
The ancients possessed techniques (sacraments and rituals) used largely in the Greco-Roman mystery religions, including early Christianity, to induce firing and retrieval, mainly with a sense of its restorative value to the individuals; the Gnostics, however, correctly saw the ontological value to what they called the Godhead Itself, the total entity.
Two realms there are, upper and lower. The upper, derived from hyperuniverse I or Yang, Form I or Parmenides, is sentient and volitional. The lower realm, or Yin, Form II of Parmenides, is mechanical, driven by blind, efficient cause, deterministic and without intelligence, since it emanates from a dead source. In ancient times it was termed "astral determinism." We are trapped, by and large, in the lower realm, but are through the sacraments, by means of theplasmate, extricated. Until astral determinism is broken, we are not even aware of it, so occluded are we. "The Empire never ended."
The name of the healthy twin, hyperuniverse I, is Nommo. The name of the sick twin, hyperuniverse II, is Yurugu. These names are known to the Dogon people of western Sudan in Africa. (*Nommo is represented in a fish form, the early Christian fish.)
The primordial source of all religions lies with the ancestors of the Dogon Tribe, who got their cosmogony and cosmology directly from the three-eyed invaders who visited long ago. The three-eyed invaders were mute and deaf and telepathic, could not breath our atmosphere, had the elongated misshapen skull of Ikhnaton, and emanated from a planet in the star-system Sirius. Although they had no hands, but had, instead, pincer claws such as a crab has, they were great builders. They covertly influence our history toward a fruitful end.
From _VALIS_ by Philip K. Dick
Well then, at the advent of memory, and memory must be mediated by language except at a very crude, instinctual level, memory is a time binding function. It's a way of somehow taking the past and calling up it's essential properties so that they are co-present with the given moment of experience. It's one thing at the level of the song and dance of pre-literate peoples but once you begin to chisel stone and write books then you're into the epigenetic domain in a big way. And once you cross the threshold into the world of electronic media and that sort of thing, once you achieve powered flight, once you can hurl instruments outside of the solar system, these are time binding functions and the alchemical intent, recall, was to accelerate nature's intent toward perfection and the alchemists all believed that nature was growing toward a state of unity and perfection, that given millions and millions of years, everything would turn to gold, everything would find its way toward the Platonian one.
McKenna lecture on Alchemy
short story _We Can Remember It For You Wholesale_ by Philip K. Dick - made into the film _Total Recall_ (vhs/ntsc) directed by Paul Verhoeven
release _Karma Memories_ spoken word CDb by Joe Frank
"Yes it is. It's not a mushroom, but it's a fungus. It's not a basidiomycelae.LSD is a more complicated molecule with a 3-dimensional architecture. Most psychedelic molecules are flat and planar, and in fact that's why they will fit in-between the base pairs of DNA. They're just little, thin sheets that shoot right in there. That I think is an incredibly peculiar situation that I've never heard anybody talk about. I mean, why is it that these drug molecules fit perfectly into DNA? Coincidence? Well, but the DNA is the core stuff, it's not letting anything in there that hasn't passed four billion years of evolutionary vetting. So, the fact that these molecules activate mind and have a relationship to the genetic material seems to me highly suggestive. Also, in here, the unsolved mystery of memory. Where are the memory traces? If your body changes every molecule every five years, then how can an eighty-year-old person remember the pattern of their grandmother's dress? I think that memory is one of those areas where reductionist science is sailing close to the rocks. I don't think you can produce a theory of memory out of reductionism."
- Terence McKenna interview in_The Resonance Project_ Magazine #3 (1993)
Youth: Why is there memory?
Thomas: We are investigating those powers of the universe required for its creativity, for building its astounding events. The universe remembers so that it can benefit from the labor and awareness of previously existing beings. Why should it forget moments of tremendous cosmic or geological or biological beauty? Think of how many billions of creatures were involved in the accomplishment of the animal eye. What a tragedy if this were not cherished!
- _The Universe Is A Green
by Brian Swimme
James Joyce, echoing Vico,
once told Frank Budgen that "imagination was
memory" (Myselves 187), and a remarkable number of those who have
written their own reminiscences of Joyce describe his "marvellous" or
"prodigious" memory. Frank Budgen once told Clive Hart that Joyce
"prized memory above all other human faculties" (Structure 53), and
Sylvia Beach recalled that Joyce had consciously developed his own
powers of memory, once keeping himself amused while recovering from
painful eye surgery by memorizing "The Lady of the Lake." Joyce, she
explained, had practiced such "memory exercises" since his "early youth,"
which "accounted for a memory that retained everything he had ever
heard. Everything stuck in it, he said". Joyce's friend Jacques
Mercanton claimed that: "Joyce's company forced me to train my memory:
he expected people to recall things precisely, and in detail" (206).
Joyce spent his life recalling, re-imagining, and revising his memories
of Dublin. "The daughters of memory," Richard Ellmann says, "received
regular employment from Joyce. . . . He was never a creator ex nihilo;
he recomposed what he remembered, and he remembered most of what he had
seen or had heard other people remember" (JJII 364-5).