The Memory of Things, Eidetic and Otherwise



Do buildings have memory? A part likes to think so, and sometimes, not.

Walking past the old university building, bricks and arched windows faded from another time. Dimmed in the evening light after a day’s office chores. Is my file in there? My mind muddles through dusty drawers. How many times has this thought passed through this place? Do we imprint something on the bricks?

No one could be living that built the regal temple to educations. The Latin words, no u’s, statues like nineteenth century Barbie dolls, suggesting an ideal, reliefs of Plato and Shakespeare, decoration of another time, what we are, and what we want to be.

The architect, the engineer, the men of the nineteenth century, accumulated from centuries before, re-remembered a hundred times and again, a different shape takes form. These workers, neatly place brick upon brick, straight and arched, rounded and cut.

When the last of these builders dies, is that when all the ghosts are greeted back into the place? It has survived its times. How we so wish to transmit memory through something other than symbol. The rest can decay. It is the loss of memory we grieve at the end of the stream. Our own memories collected and ordered some certain way, and the thousand million others, like our own, and not, can they only be ash and dust? Crumbled bits of star decayed.

If only touching a wall or tree trunk, might now what it was all witness to, and the thoughts the brick, the tree imbedded in back of some happening.

I hold a terabyte of memory in my palm. But what is it? What is the Bible even until read? And we just hope a little, that avatars of ourselves in time, will be better than ourselves.

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