A few years ago, in a discussion about the possibility of a Caribbean literature prize, I proposed that it wasn’t a good idea, as the politics would make it into a literary Special Olympics (no...
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No times to lose
I was musing on the loss of memory and memories of loss, while mourning mountain breezes ruffled the presence of the present. Tense with anticipation, looking over my shoulder, my backward gaze lost in translation. I’m still wondering whether the title of Marcel Proust’s monumental À la recherche du temps perdu translates better as: Remembrance of Things Past, or as: In Search of Lost Time.
These ruminations caught me between my first cup of morning coffee and the second, caffeine and sugar rebooting some fragments of the internal hard drive. Arresting my continental drift comes TS Eliot, poetry mentor of an adolescence from another life. He of the pinstripe banker’s suit and severe spectacles, drifts up through the warm waters of consciousness, his lips soundlessly forming the still familiar formula: “Time present and time past/Are both perhaps present in time future/And time future in time past.”
Without memory, as Eliot goes on to speculate: “If all time is eternally present/All time is unredeemable.” However, what Eliot didn’t say was that without memory there is neither present, past or future, but only an eternal limbo, which without a lobotomy might be a state of eternal pain and suffering. If memory is as expendable as the past, then why should dementia, Alzheimer’s good partner, be so feared? No pain like this body and what’s as terrifying for anthropocentric man or woman as being confronted by their own futility, because presumably without memory there’s no concept of mortality.
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