persistence_memory_dali_small.jpg  Dali’s Persistance of Memory – my most disliked work of art of last century.

My father died a month ago, after a difficult 5 months of brain injury, coma, a stroke, further brain damage, and a few bouts with MRSA. This has been one of the most difficult situations I have ever had to cope with, and the experience still feels largely undigested.

Now that my dad is gone, I have been thinking a lot about memory. Specifically – all that i have left of him now are memories, padded with photographs, words, stories. Suddenly I am distrusting my memory, it seems so ephemeral, like trying to catch bits of a dream in the morning, and not very persistant at all.

This feeling, coupled with being in Johannesburg with very little internet access and a great sense of dislocation from the world and the web, has made me think a lot about how I am locating some of my memory more and more online. I don’t just mean having firefox remember logins for me, I mean that it seems so much easier to just google something than it is to hold that information at the forefront of my brain. I’ve let my phone remember all contact numbers for a few years now.  I’ve thought about dystopian situations where humans have to rely exclusively on their machines in order to remember anything at all – even our own names …

Kevin Kelly of Wired said in 2005 that  “…What will most surprise us is how dependent we will be on what the Machine knows – about us and about what we want to know. … The more we teach this megacomputer, the more it will assume responsibility for our knowing. It will become our memory. Then it will become our identity. In 2015 many people, when divorced from the Machine, won’t feel like themselves – as if they’ve had a lobotomy.”

I assume that by Machine, Kelly meant the web?


Seeds dreaming

February 27, 2007

dad.jpg My dad: 1938 – 2007.  And he said: You would know the secret of death.  But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?  The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.  If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.  For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.  In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond; and like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.  Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.  For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Gone Fishing

December 10, 2006

This dusty little corner of the blogoverse is going to get even sadder, dustier and quieter until January 2007.   I am going back to johannesburg – city of the painful dial up modems among other things, and then off to Spain for Christmas and New Year.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is glamorous.

Wishing you heaps, oodles and gazillions of good things