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Posts Tagged ‘memory’

I don’t usually read fashion blogs, but my friends are writing one that I wanted to share. My Grandfather’s Ties isn’t only about fashion (and if you knew the authors, you’d know why). It’s successful because it’s a way of thinking about memory through the lens of a physical object – in this case, through a tie collection. These guys don’t have any pretension, but we at d.t.u. might say that they’re doing some mindful, therapeutic work. Not to mention fashionable.

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My favorite author, Jorge Luis Borges, writes that time is cyclical in nature: as we walk through the streets of the town where we were born, we relive the times that we have walked there before.

“Of course,” writes Borges about these moments, “they are repeated imprecisely; there are differences of emphasis, temperature, light and general physiological condition.” Each moment is similar, we tend to think, but no two moments are the same. Borges suggests otherwise. He argues that the number of possible iterations is not infinite – we can imagine two identical moments, in which all variables are precisely the same. “Is not one single repeated term sufficient to break down and confuse the series of time?” Borges asks. “Do not the fervent readers who surrender themselves to Shakespeare become, literally, Shakespeare?”

So, on New Year’s Eve: how many of us gather together to open a bottle of champagne, to dance, or cheer, or bring in the new year with a kiss? On New Year’s Eve I like to think of all the years before. I like to identify the differences of emphasis, the varying locations, and contexts, and moods. But I also like to think, a la Borges, that maybe my new year is not so unique. Maybe somewhere in the present, or somewhere in the past, this moment has occurred before. It makes the world seem somehow smaller and more beautiful.

This year I didn’t have a watch and so I would have missed midnight altogether, if a neighbor hadn’t shot a cannon at precisely 12 am.  Well, dear readers: did any of you have the same new year as me? Where were you on new year’s eve?

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