- Education and Science»
- History & Archaeology
Memory and Mimesis
The first of the siblings
Memory lost a vast collection of names that went missing when Adam named all the animals. It would not have been so bad if Adam had been content to name only the animals, but he did not stop there…he continued naming other things as well such as plants, insects, stones, flowers, waters, scents, colours, lights, and many other things. In this way, he emptied out Memory’s repository of names because, as everybody knows, things like names do not come in infinite numbers, like say…sunlight, for example.
Yes, sunlight is not exhaustible by its sunbathers because it comes in infinite supply — or as some say it is a non-countable noun (even though, the source of the light, the sun, and their number in the universe is indeed countable).
Names are definitely countable,
and even though they can be shared by many ‘place holders’ — or referents, as highly knowledgeable people call them — they are exhaustible by virtue of being useful only if they name a limited number of things. If everything is named by them, then the name becomes useless. Sunlight on the other hand does not become useless if everyone is sun bathing and for three reasons:
- The word sunlight can name other things participating in sunlight than just bathers.
- The word sunbather is not rendered useless if everyone and everything in the universe is sunbathing because the word names an ‘activity’ that has a limit in time. i.e. Things will not always be bathing in sunlight. They will also be hibernating in darkness.
- Countable names — or proper names — are more of a fixed label so they continue to name the thing until it expires. In this way the name does not exist autonomously forever. It needs something to attach itself to and in this way when Adam named everything countable he emptied Memory’s collection.
I know what you’re thinking,
dear reader. What about verbs? Are verbs like countable names or are they like uncountable names? On one hand, ‘a man walking for five minutes’ seems to define the walking in time and space and make it countable. But what about the abstraction ‘to walk’? Isn’t that like ‘sunlight’? That depends on whether the verb ‘walking’ come into being from people doing it or whether it was always ‘somewhere’ by itself and when people ‘saw it,’ they went to participate in it. The former would empty Memory’s collection of names, the latter would not.
But before we continue with this line of reasoning, dear reader, you may want to ask, so what? So what if Adam emptied out Memory’s repository of some names. She still has the memory of many other things like light, sky, milk, and high and low. Now high and low may not be much company owing to their rarified nature. But ‘things’ like light, sky, milk, blue, fun and happiness are nothing to sneeze at.
In fact, they are much better company than countable things like cups, cows, stones and plants. Or so it would seem, but alas, Adam also named ‘memory’ and removed this word from Memory’s memory so that now Memory was left with nothing but amnesia.
Oh, I know what you’re thinking
dear reader, if Adam named ‘amnesia’ would Memory have amnesia or not? And conversely, if ‘Memory’ is uncountable, could Adam really separate her from herself? And even if he could separate or divide ‘Memory,’ could not Happiness or Fun or even Blue step in to replace and replenish Memory?
These are very deep questions which require a considerable amount of time to consider but time’s father named ‘Father-Time’ with a capital ‘ T ’ is motioning us to continue with our tale of the two siblings by discussing what happened to Mimesis.
This second sibling lost his prototype and became a shadow. How did this happen, you ask? Well you see, Mimesis lived in a still ‘glassy’ lake where he reflected perfectly his beloved named Mimi — a beautiful boy who descended from Narcissus. So happy was Mimesis to see the joy in Mimi’s face who would come to the lake to admire (his and) Mimesis’s beauty…
Then one day a great storm
created turbulent waters that flooded the plains and sent Mimi scampering away. No longer would Mimesis see Mimi or any other boy for that matter. Mimesis searched every lake there was to find Mimi, but nothing turned up. This catastrophe endured for so long that Mimesis forgot what Mimi looked like. He tried mimicking other creatures to assuage his loneliness: tigers, lions, hippos, rhinoceroses, etc. ; But he was out of step with these creatures. Nothing could replace Mimi. For a while, he was consoled by a lover with a similar problem named Echo, but since two negatives can never make a positive, they each parted even more sorrowful than before.
Mimesis degenerated over the years, his skin turning into a dark bluish colour. He got a new job working for the sun as a ‘shadow’ where nobody paid any attention to him, let alone admire his beauty. His name, for lack of use, also morphed from Mimesis to Imago.