An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Were I to tell you, and it is true I assure you, that I made no notes at all when we returned from the beach that day and that I have mulled it almost not at all since then then you would not be surprised had I forgotten entirely by now what I had meant to write then. And it is almost true. Almost. But it is not beyond RECALL.

First let me share with you a real RECALL of mine from yesterday or the day before:

"A snippet (clip? video clip, audio clip, memo clip(?)), of memory:

Taking some rubbish along to the bins today I caught the unmistakable scent of figs from a tree growing in an olive grove. Like Proust's madeline it brought back to me a moment one afternoon perhaps 17 years ago: walking up from Vrysses into Kalamitsi one stifling hot afternoon when all of the local villagers were dozing on day beds we rounded a bend and found that a stand of fig trees had apparently dropped their entire crop all at once and that a procession of trucks and lorries had crushed them into the melting tarmac - the smell was sweet and sticky, the day was hot and dry, we were hot and sweaty as we trudged through this sticky scented carpet. Just then a little lady in black beckoned us into her garden where she sat us down and gave us Greek coffee, cold grapes and figs!"

Now let me deconstruct it for you according to my model: the scent of figs is that which triggered the MNEMONIC (the path or route MNEMONIZED), the thing RECALLED (in this case a memo clip rather than a single thing) is the walk into the village and the old lady's kindness and that is the MEMORY. And the reason that I deconstruct it for you is to mention that I can feel a matching pattern between this model and that of semiotics. Is that another MNEMONIC for me?

Well, that did the trick, talking about a theory of memory allowed my background RECALL to operate unconsciously. Exposing the mechanics of memory allowed me not to try to RECALL actively.

My thoughts on the episode of "the day at the beach" were presented to some limited extent, in brief and in overview through Eddie and Shem. Eddie's point that nobody present was enjoying themselves in the way that he and Farmboy did when young was true for the simple reason that he and Farmboy never took joy in being recorded regardless of the fact that it happened only very infrequently. My own, deeper concern was that the act of recording would interpose itself not just in the MEMORY but in the immediate experience itself. As Heisenberg taught us the act of experimenting determines somewhat the outcome of the experiment. I suspected then and fear now that the recent obsession with recording our lives is beginning to get in the way of the quiddity of the moments of our lives and that leads us on to consider whether we the memories we lay down in these times are valid in any traditional sense and this is where Shem's point comes into play and it is at this juncture when the suspicion begins to arise that neither the experiences nor the memories of these three generations will be of the same type or directness as our own. In short, my original concern was for the very real and present danger that intermediating all experiences through the medium of recording (digitally or otherwise) changes the very nature of human experience and so, reality itself.

Marshall McCluhan anyone?


  1. I would agree with you except for one small point: the concept of reality is in itself completely fictive. In that sense, McLuhan was absolutely correct: the medium is the message.

  2. A valid and fair point master but had I put reality into quotes then my entry would have been far longer while I explained the notion of subjective reality versus the fictive concept of an objective reality.

  3. I count you as one of the enlightened; my comment was directed at others

  4. Excellent subject, BTW - sorry, I forgot to add that!