luni, 24 octombrie 2011

Visual Memory


Do visual memories belong to us?

The answer could not be provided from outside, as from an expert in neurological science, but only from us. Could anyone else say what we have in our pocket except ourselves? We should be the responders for any question regarding human attributes we possess.

Could we map ourselves drawing places on which to be put our memories, images and other mental activities? The map of the brain is not a solution, since it never could be conceived by the possessor of the brain himself.

As regards visual memories, are they instilled in our eyes? Do we feel our eyes charged with past images?

If it would be so, our experience of sight would be extended more than it is sufficient for seeing. It should encompass moments of blindness, since any past image would count as a pause in the actual exercise of sighting.

The blindness will change the world we currently grasp by our eyes. Not only because it will be sunk into the darkness, but also because the world is going to be apprehended through another sense than sight. The world kept in the memories is a matter of touch.

It is the same world, but our way of apprehending it changes, involving a process of deepening into it, which can be loosely equated with the tactile sense.

The object touched attracts us into its existence, which is an unspoken one. As such, we cannot accurately recall our visual memories by words. As a consequence of the lack of words for them, we loose the power of possessing them in the dominant way provided only by the use of language.

Therefore, we may say that ‘our’ memories take us in what we cannot feel as our own, in the very existence of the things or person about which past images survived. Thus, the past images are able to possess us.

Though, we speak about memories as about any other matter we are acquainted with. It is a descriptive language that cannot be classified merely as secondary to the cognitive experience of the visual memories themselves. On spite of this secondary status, the linguistic recall of memories is accepted as a more reliable way of acquiring cognition than an account of a present state. Even if we do not develop such explanation, we rely on the past memories because of their power to introduce us into the existence of the objects discussed. Meanwhile, the present state can at most to refer to the objects in an ostensive way, by making room to the distance between the person who points to the objects and the objects themselves.

As any other practice of speaking confronted to non-linguistic experience, the linguistic description of visual memories prevails over their real experience. The experience itself is assimilated to the act of speaking about them, so that to recall a past memory is meant as an ostensive utterance about past events. As a result, we are free from the persons and things, which might possess us as visual memories.

The experience of visual memories still subsists, but rather as a mystic experience of being possessed by superior forces. For instance, the dreams that join past images were often considered as divine signs.