Sunday, October 24, 2010

Suture opening monologue

How is it that we know who we are? We might wake up in the night, disoriented, and wonder where we are. We may have forgotten where the window, or the door, or the bathroom is, or who is sleeping beside us. We may think perhaps that we have lived through what we just dreamed of. Or we may wonder if we are now still dreaming. But we never wonder who we are.

However confused we might be about every other particular of our existence, we always know that it is us. That we are now who we have always been. We never wake up and wonder, who am I? Because our knowledge of who we are is mediated by what we doctors of the mind call our self schemata -- the richest, most stable and most complex memory structures we have. They are the structures which connect us to our pasts, and allow us to imagine our futures. To lose those connections would be a sign of pathology, a pathology called amnesia.

But it makes no sense to begin the story here, without its history, its past. So, let me take you back to a proper beginning. To a time before identity has been confused.


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