“They Told Me” / A Memorable Fancy #383

[“Might I not believe that once, without knowing it, I was taken far away from the earth – that other people even know this?” – Wittgenstein]      They told me I went to another planet and came back. They insisted on interviewing me even though I didn’t have anything to say, because an accident on re-entry had wiped out my memories – they told me. I don’t remember being on another planet. At first I thought they were pulling my leg, or playing some practical joke while watching me with a … [Read more...]

“The Forgetting-Project” / A Memorable Fancy #316

     I did something so awful once, a long time ago, that I want to un-remember it, to un-know it. I went to a psychiatrist last year. He told me to face up to what happened; work through the memory; own it. Repression, he said, is not what I should be doing. But repression is what I’m looking for. The truth isn’t what I want. I don’t need to remember what I did; I’ve remembered that already, time after time. I can’t get it out of my head. Now I just want to remember something else, anything … [Read more...]

“The Names IV – ‘We are forgetting the names of things'” / A Memorable Fancy #282

We are forgetting the names of things: how they sound, what they mean. It began about a year ago. Once in a while I remembered a word like “skillet” or “plate,” but then quickly forgot it. We were reduced to saying “You know, those things we use to…” cook in, or place food on, or whatever. But gradually, the phrase “Those things we use to…” became, for us, just another kind of name, and we’re forgetting these, too. We gesture now, wordlessly. We point, we wave our arms silently until the … [Read more...]

“Extinction” / A Memorable Fancy #275

“The problem with forgetting,” said the man in the dark suit, “is that you have to remember what you’ve tried so vainly to forget – before you can forget, excise it from your mind scrape by scrape. In fact, that’s the key, isn’t it? ‘Extinction,’ we call it. Over and over and over, remember everything you can about her in the utmost detail, about how you and she were, together, and how you imagined she was when you were alone. The more you feel your pulse rising, your hands shaking, the … [Read more...]

“Our Machines Forget” / A Memorable Fancy #214

Our machines have been forgetting. At first a few crashes, but we quickly restored from backups while we still remembered how to do it. Then severe dropouts, parity errors, corrupted backups. It was difficult to know what the machines had forgotten, since the records of what they had known had also disappeared, or become a random assortment of 1’s and 0’s. And we – what did we want the machines to do for us, when we invented them?       … [Read more...]

“The Forgettery” / Memorable Fancies #208

Today I visited the Forgettery and paid them so that I would forget about – a woman, I think – what was her name? I remember that it was a big effort to forget about her and it took the specialists more than a day or two, but it must have been worth it, right? Or I wouldn’t have done it, wouldn’t have paid the Forgettery so much. But now I’m free of her. If we were to meet at a party, now, I wouldn’t recognize her. But I might be attracted to her again – might go through the same – whatever … [Read more...]

“Forgetting” / A Memorable Fancy #161

Tom awoke in the thin grey morning, gradually forgetting his dream. A slither of reason crept into his mind. Yes, he thought, this must be the real world, not that other thing. But I will forget this world, too.   … [Read more...]