I've been living with Alzheimer's syndrome for some time now, with considerable frustration, but also curiosity as to the way my brain is being chopped up. I realised today that what I lose is not so much memories but their connections. The occasion for this was when I was assessing what sort of a walk I should take, while being able to get back for a specified time at home. As I often do in such exercises now, I contemplated the clock on our wall, whose face is marked out by a ring of Roman numerals from 1 to 12, and an outer ring of 60 short lines. It was a straight forward, though slightly tedious matter to work out where the corresponding symbols on my watch needed to be in order for me get back in time. And so I set out.
Half way though the walk, the word "minutes" floated into my mind. "Hours" and "Minutes"! These were the concepts that could have swiftly and efficiently solved the earlier problem; but at that time they were not immediately available.
Brains are remarkable things, but you only realise it when they are malfunctioning.
Fascinating reflection Chris. Apart from the context, which is difficult, your commentary on the 'nature' of time that falls out of your message is interesting. Yes, the concept of 'hours and minutes' is useful, but it is purely utilitarian. It has little intrinsic meaning. It is a habit - a way of organising human travail. Time is really an imagined fourth dimension, assigned to give relative meaning to theory and some understanding, but it falls apart when we a) realise that we don't know what it is, ultimately and b) when we try harder and harder to measure it, it becomes 'fuzzy'. Like the location of an electron, it only 'collapses' into any sort of positional meaning when measurement or observation is attempted...ReplyDelete
'Normality' is such a questionable construct.