Posts filed under ‘Memory’

Donald Horne on getting old

Donald Horne was very very cool.
In a piece in an early Griffith Review on “Making Perfect Bodies“, he wrote, near the end of his essay entitled Mind, Body and Age

For those lucky enough to have a reasonably well-packed and curious mind and the determination to use it, age can give more perspectives from which to consider changed circumstances. But perhaps only if you’ve had some practice at it in your earlier life – only if, as things have come up, you’ve sometimes considered whether they should alter what you think. That’s part of what can be meant by keeping your mind young. Keeping up with what’s going on doesn’t necessarily mean tagging after the latest, although it may mean knowing about it, and it doesn’t mean just picking up a few vogue words. Going on like that can keep you old, however young you are. I like to think that what has helped keep me, in certain ways, “young” has been a distaste for vogue words. I have always tried to translate them into my own language in a kind of test of what they are “saying” (sometimes this is remarkably little). If you’re old, you need enough body parts left working to sustain at least fits of mental, even creative, energy and you need to have retained at least most of your memory, and to have acquired the patience to go around hunting for bits of it that may hide themselves from you.

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January 2, 2011 at 10:56 am Leave a comment

Memories of the way we were

Memory is fallible.  This we all should know (better).

I need to read –

Memory: histories, theories, debate eds Susannah Radstone and Bill Schwarz

What’s the inspiration for this post?  Well, I was in conversation with my father, who has lived in South Australia for 40 years. My personal recollection was that the death toll on the roads used to be significantly higher – in the 250s – than it is now. He disagreed.  A few days later I tracked down the stats and it turns out that – in this particular instance – my recollection was correct.  [It peaked in 1986 at 288 and this year is just over 100]. Perhaps because I’ve been away for so long, and haven’t had a ‘gradual decline’ to hide the longer memory? Or because I am a morbid bastard?

But the danger here, based on one isolated and provable instance, is to start thinking that my memory is something special. Which is very unlikely!

Stats from this useful chapter.

December 31, 2010 at 10:15 am Leave a comment


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