Thursday, January 22, 2009

Seeing and Remembering

I know I said last week in our meeting that I'd post something on Mirall Trencat, butI figure that since today we are probably going to talk about Amic e amat that maybe it would be better if I did something related to that.
Anyway, as I was reading this morning from the words of "Raymond" Lull, I came across this passage that struck me as relevant considering current debates in Catalonia:

"18. Qüestió fo enfre los ulls e la memòria de l'amic, cor los ulls deien que mellor cosa és veer l'amat que membrar-lo, e la memòria dix que per lo remembrament puja l'aigua als ulls e el cor s'enflama d'amor."

"18. A dispute occurred between the eyes and the memory of the lover, for the eyes said it was better to see the beloved than to remember him, and the memory said that through remembrance the water rises to the eyes and the heart swells with love. "

I have been thinking a lot recently about the role of memory and narrative in our understanding of the present and our projections of the future. I love the image here of the dispute between the eyes and the memory. Is it truly better just to remember something than to see it? What implications does this line of thought hold for contemporary Catalonia and Iberia in general? Maybe it's something to talk about.


Zach said...

Maybe it would be helpful to remember that the seat of memory for the Medieval world was the heart, and not the mind. As such memory is already closely connected with love. But maybe this would also add to a richer understanding of what it means to remember now. Do we remember with our heads or our hearts; logic or emotion?

Raechel said...

What might also play into the question of "how we remember" is the view that memory is often (always?) corroded - every time we remember something, it's different from the last time we remember it, not to mention from how we perceived it originally.

Here's a not directly connected but related quote on the subject from _El amor en los tiempos de colera_, "[El doctor Juvenal Urbino] era todavia demasiado joven para saber que la memoria del corazon elimina los malos recuerdos y magnifica los buenos, y que gracias a ese artificio logramos sobrellevar el pasado."