The End of Memory
Posted 13 May 2009 - 10:10 PM
"We may need 'eschatological forgetting.' To forgive is to forget. Augustine, at the end of City of God, says that he will remember certain evils -- the ones he has committed, not the ones he has forgiven others for."
Starting with John Locke, Volf says, the West has defined the self by what one remembers. That has been the stable feature of modernity, that we are what our stories are. This means that memories of evil often organize our lives.
"But is that desirable for a world of perfect love?" Volf asks. "Only those who are willing not to remember certain things can remember themselves into the telos of perfect love." Volf does not use the term "forgetting"; his vision is of a messianic age so ennobled by joy, love and embrace of the neighbor that there will be a "not-coming-to-mind," a leave-taking of worldly memories. This, he suggests, is what is meant by Nehemiah's promise of "the joy of Jerusalem." While that day will come only with Jesus' return, we can, in the meantime, strive to approximate that not-coming-to-mind of memories that would provoke anger or aggravate violence.
Miroslav Volf, speaking of his then work-in-progress, now published as The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (2006). From an article by Mark Oppenheimer in The Christian Century, January 11, 2003, pp. 18-23. Copyright by The Christian Century Foundation.
Posted 14 May 2009 - 10:14 AM
Here's the abstract:
It's interesting stuff. While it seems this book is looking more at Volf's imagined scenario for forgiveness, I am interested in the duality that exists between the past and future. We must construct ourselves from memories of the past, and yet, those same memories must be forgotten if we are to enter the future.
How tightly to do we hold to pain of the past? And how freely do we abandon it to enter the future with a clean slate?
Edit: I was wondering while composing my post why this topic would be in "Official News". Then I REMEMBERED. So, my post (As on topic as it is - especially for me - in this context it is a digression). SO.... if you want to address Greg's post in light of this board this is the place to be. If you want to banter about memory/history, past/future, Pierre Nora, Mikhail Bakhtin, Francios Lyotard, and Marvin Carlson come on over here - http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?showtopic=22928.
Posted 14 May 2009 - 04:50 PM
However, there is another persona, or maybe a variety of personas that we are individually here. They are comprised of the portion of what we have chosen to reveal that each of the rest of us now recall and remember each time any one of us sees one's avatar, or reads a post. Do NOT underestimate this. Having been a moderator here, I have had to "get to know'" most of you if you have ventured at all beyond the arts fora. I've had to do that just to know what to expect from you. Don't get paranoid, please. Had I not been a mod, I'd have done the same thing if any of you had engaged me at all in discussion. It's how I operate.
So the questions each of us should ponder:
- What do we want others to remember of who any of us is here? Can we control/determine that to any extent? And, can I change anything about any "other" personas" out there some might have of me?
- What does one remember around here about any of the rest of us? What are any of us willing to forget about any of the rest of us if there dawns a fresh iteration of this community?
Edited by Rich Kennedy, 14 May 2009 - 04:54 PM.