The Memory of Hatred

On a recent Thursday night, we were lucky enough to attend a "Meet the Dancer" talk at the Joffrey Ballet. To my question of how do you remember the choreography, the dancer had a simple answer. "Muscle memory. Weeks, even years later, when I hear the music, my body remembers what to do."

The next day as a member of the Art Institute of Chicago, I was fortunate enough to attend a remarkable symposium entitled, "Drawing C.1600, between Renaissance and Baroque." Hugo Chapman, of the British Museum, in explaining how attribution is achieved, noted that some curators have a visual memory of what they have seen, that allows them to draw connections between unattributed or misattributed drawings.

Muscle memory. I understand that, put on the music from my 1966 years in a drill team and some of the routine comes back unbeckoned. Visual memory. That momentary deja vu that you've seen something before.

Then there is Proustian sense memory, one he wrote about coming from a madeleine or a public toilet. Ether sticks in my sinuses from childhood operations; cloying perfumes from crushes by overdosed relatives lead me once to become physically ill when the whiff came my way in a closed bus.

Memory. A friend, the librarian, was desperate to discuss the subject after reading "The Sense of an Ending", the new book by Julian Barnes. Memory. What is true? My memory, yours? If history is the collective memory a culture, what are true in the memories of each of us when they conflict? What really happened?

What about those raised with hatred, do they carry a memory of hatred that erupts into society as seen recently by the murders and suicide of a Neo-Nazi in Arizona? Did he have hate memory? Does hatred linger in the bones, like a choreography does in the dancer's muscles?

"History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation." (Julian Barnes, "The Sense of an Ending")

 

 

 

Comments

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  • Two people will witness the same event in different ways. Their choice of words to describe what they saw will further filter out reality. Is this what Barnes is suggesting in the concluding quote? What's your take?

    Your post raises some interesting questions. Good job.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    And he or she who writes the story, gets to cut the cloth to their needs.

  • Our "memory" is our shared history. However, neither knowing nor not knowing history will erase hate. That is a innate, constant, human trait.

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    And a few years of therapy might help some, eh?

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    Candace Drimmer

    TIMELINE June 1972 to June 1973---Candace moves to Lima (Peru)----- June 1973 to May 1974---Candace and The Husband live in Glendale AZ----- May 1974 to August 1974---Living in Toronto, Ontario (Canada)----- September 1974 to May 1975---Living in Aberdeen SD----- May 1975 to July 1979---Living in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada)----- July 1979 to June 1980---Living in Asuncion (Paraguay)----- June 1980 to September 1980---Living in NYC----- September 1980 to November 1982---Living in Connecticut----- November 1982 to January 1983---Living in Ponce, Puerto Rico (USA)----- February 1983 to July 1986---Living in Willemstad, Curacao (Netherlands Antilles)----- July 1986 to July 1989---Living in Guayaquil (Ecuador)----- July 1989 to July 1995---Living in Connecticut (yes, again)----- July 1995 to August 2001---Living in Mexico City (Mexico)----- August 2001---Return to Gringolandia (a.k.a. United States of America)----- I was an accidental expatriate; love and marriage led me to it. One day I was a bandy-legged kid sitting atop my dogwood tree looking out of my small backyard world in 1950s New Jersey, wanting to move somewhere--anywhere, different. Next thing I knew I met a young hirsute anti-war, soon-to-be-Peace Corps volunteer, fell in love and moved to Peru in the 1970s. WHAT an adventure it's been!! NOTE: I gave up Facebook, so apologies that I cannot answer any comments since it is only set up via FB.

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