The privilege of memory

January 13th, 2013 | Alina Müller

I left my home city twelve years ago and my birth town twelve years before that. Sometimes when I go back, I take a friend from outside along. On their first tour of the city, I point out some of the ‘landmarks’:

‘This is where I went to school until I was eleven years old. I loved my teacher Maja’

‘This is the swimming pool where I learned to swim. We used to always buy candy at that shop around the corner’

‘This is where I had my first cafe latte ever. My friend L and I would sit for hours’

And I’m really excited as I point out the random buildings, as if this was also the first time I had ever seen them in real life. If you’re lucky and come along to my birth town, the landmarks are even more obscure:

‘This is where my grandfather used to go to get merchandise for the grocery store he was running. I used to always stop by there to check if he was around.’

‘This is where a lot of my mum’s friends lived – I don’t remember their names anymore – they would get together and make Nescafe.’

I’ve always wondered how this information and the places I point out register with my travel companions. During the sightseeing I study their facial expressions and they never seem to match my excitement. How could they? I’m navigating the city using a mental map forged from fragments of memory – some my own, some really aged and some constructed from stories I’ve been told and repeated to myself throughout the years. The buildings and streets I insist that my friends look at (and ideally photograph) recall relationships, experiences and people that, without the privilege of memory, to them remain just random spaces.

Despite the distress stemming from the unfulfilled desire to share, I can never blame my guests. In fact their experience as the unprivileged tourist is more familiar to me than that of the privileged ‘sharer’ in this respect. Having moved around a lot, there’s often been a disconnect between myself and my immediate physical surroundings.

In one of his works, the French philosopher and sociologist Maurice Halbwachs describes this  ’breakdown of contact between thoughts and things’:

Auguste Comte remarked that mental equilibrium was, first and foremost, due to the fact that the physical objects of our daily contact change little or not at all, providing us with with an image of permanence and stability. They give us a feeling of order and tranquility, like a silent and immobile society unconcerned with our own restlessness and change of mood. In truth, much mental illness is accompanied by a breakdown of contact between thought and things, as it were, an inability to recognise familiar objects, so that the victim finds himself in a fluid and strange environment totally lacking familiar reference points. So true is it that our habitual images of our external world are inseparable from our self that this breakdown is not limited to the mentally ill. We ourselves may experience a similar period of uncertainty, as if we had left behind our whole personality, when we are obliged to move to novel surroundings and have not yet adapted to them.

This breakdown Halbwachs describes is central to the immigrant experience. And so I can’t help wondering what is lost and, since we can’t live for long without a sense ‘of permanence  and stability’ (despite what our ‘mobile and restless’ generation often tells itself), what we can do to recover it.

Could we find a way of extending the privilege of memory?

193 Responses to “The privilege of memory”

  1. Lovely just what I was searching for.Thanks to the author for taking his clock time on this one.

  2. Laquanda says:

    you are really a good webmaster. The web site loading speed is amazing. It seems that you are doing any unique trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterwork. you’ve done a fantastic job on this topic!

  3. I was speaking with a friend of my own about this info and about firestarter kodi too. I think you made a lot of good points here, we’re also excited to read more stuff from you.

  4. It was great reading this article and I think you are entirely right. Let me know in the event that you are thinking of framaroot new version, that’s my principal competence. I’m hoping to check back with you in the near future, cheers!

  5. You’re certainly right and I agree with you. When you wish, we might as well talk around framaroot pc, something that intrigues me. The website is really great, cheers!

  6. I constantly look over your posts carefully. I am likewise considering how to attract beautiful ladies, maybe you might talk about this sometimes. Bye!

  7. mobdro apk says:

    I felt wonderful to read this info and I believe you’re really correct. Inform me if perhaps you are involved in mobdro app download, that’s my major competence. I am hoping to see you soon enough, cheers!

  8. Whitley says:

    Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I’m experiencing issue with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting similar rss problem? Anyone who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx

  9. I just like the valuable information you supply in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and test again here regularly. I am moderately sure I’ll be informed many new stuff proper here! Good luck for the following!

  10. I always go through your site content attentively. I am furthermore fascinated by mobile number location tracker, you might talk about this occasionally. I will be back soon.

  11. I constantly go through your articles carefully. I’m also focused on windows password recovery, perhaps you might discuss that occasionally. I will be back soon!

  12. cash til payday loans
    payday loans no credit check
    cash advance with bad credit

  13. viagra cheap online no prescription
    viagra generic
    buy viagra spam

  14. cheap viagra online usa
    viagra generic 100mg
    viagra buy chennai

  15. Orlando says:

    Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a 25 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  16. civic hall says:

    Where can I buy over the counter in singapore http://www.civichallstanley.co.uk/civic/pharmacy/aromasin.html cheapest generic canada.

  17. Thank you very much for sharing this info, I bookmarked the website. I am furthermore seeking details regarding aptoide for android, are you aware the place where I could discover one thing like that? I’ll come back very soon!

  18. opsgroup says:

    Where can I buy over the counter in new york http://www.opsint.com/wp-docs/pharmacy/azasan.html buy cheapest price.

  19. I frequently look over your content attentively. I am furthermore fascinated by lic policy number, you might discuss this sometimes. See you soon!

  20. Glyclito says:

    how to make some fast cash
    cash advance
    online pay day loan
    payday loans

  21. Pyprorn says:

    quick fast loans
    pay day loans
    payday loans mesquite tx
    payday express

  22. Dion says:

    Hey there great blog! Does running a blog similar to this require a great deal of work? I’ve no expertise in programming however I was hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyhow, if you have any ideas or techniques for new blog owners please share. I understand this is off topic nevertheless I simply had to ask. Thanks a lot!

  23. Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any tips and hints for inexperienced blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  24. Vetbemebra says:

    same day payday loans direct lenders – http://personalnerloan.org/ quick and easy payday loan [url=http://personalnerloan.org/]small personal loans online[/url] ’

  25. Vetbemebra says:

    paydayloans chicago – http://personalnerloan.org/ big payday loan company [url=http://personalnerloan.org/]personal loan online[/url] ’

  26. Vetbemebra says:

    best payday loans uk – http://personalnerloan.org/ best debt consolidation loan [url=http://personalnerloan.org/]personal loans[/url] ’

  27. Vetbemebra says:

    national debt relief – http://personalnerloan.org/ payday cash advances [url=http://personalnerloan.org/]bad credit personal loans[/url] ’

  28. Vetbemebra says:

    personal loans bank – http://personalnerloan.org/ cash today [url=http://personalnerloan.org/]find personal loan[/url] ’

  29. FvezxsnipS says:

    bad credit debt consolidation internet payday loan – http://personalacrb.org/ low interest rate personal loans [url=http://personalacrb.org/]easy personal loans[/url] ’

  30. Lmtuevosse says:

    card consolidate credit debt – http://paydaydvtb.com/ personal loans poor credit [url=http://paydaydvtb.com/]payday loans near me[/url] ’

  31. Bbnvexteby says:

    payday loan – http://paydayvax.org/ fast cash payday loans online [url=http://paydayvax.org/]cash advance[/url] ’

  32. BbmjkFlarly says:

    bad check to payday loan – http://paydayhhkl.org/ approval no fax payday loans [url=http://paydayhhkl.org/]payday loan online[/url] ’

  33. Bsgvaccide says:

    direct lender of payday loans – http://cashzwvgx.org/ authorized payday loan [url=http://cashzwvgx.org/]loan bad credit[/url] ’

  34. Lmmnsmure says:

    payday loans no credit check no employment verification – http://personalervxv.com/ loans bad credit [url=http://personalervxv.com/]personal loan bad credit[/url] ’

  35. VsplGrefe says:

    same day payday loan – http://cashrkol.com/ bad credit payday loan lenders [url=http://cashrkol.com/]online payday advance[/url] ’

  36. Olfikvorge says:

    an instant payday loan – http://paydaervx.com/ consolidate debt [url=http://paydaervx.com/]payday loans bad credit[/url] ’

  37. Vrbyrhycle says:

    consolidation debt – http://loansvtna.org/ direct payday loans [url=http://loansvtna.org/]fast cash loans[/url] ’

  38. Gghnawaddy says:

    payday cash advance loan – http://paydayacevt.com/ student loan debt relief [url=http://paydayacevt.com/]payday loans online[/url] ’

  39. Crbnemebra says:

    instant cash loans – http://personalnerloan.org/ cash and payday loans [url=http://personalnerloan.org/]unsecured personal loans[/url] ’

  40. Kelsie says:

    I have been checking out some of your posts and i can state pretty nice stuff. I will surely bookmark your blog.

  41. Bvbnphodia says:

    a payday loan same day payday loan moneytree payday loans [url=http://paydayhhkl.org/]loans payday[/url] ’

  42. BbecStoofe says:

    online cash loans cash advance advanced check cashing payday loans [url=http://paydayvax.org/]pay day loans[/url] ’

  43. KvsAbsele says:

    bad credit car loan saving account payday loan student loan best payday loans best payday loan lenders [url=http://paydaydvtb.com/]same day payday loans[/url] ’

  44. LbsiObjews says:

    cash advance payday loan payday day loans bad credit [url=http://paydayacevt.com/]payday loans online[/url] ’

  45. Cbaxcreeda says:

    payday loans people bad credit cash advances best payday advance loans [url=http://cashrkol.com/]payday advance[/url] ’

  46. Gbwblexug says:

    no fax same day payday loans payday loans america payday loan [url=http://cashzwvgx.org/]cash advance loans[/url] ’

  47. Bazelayecy says:

    same day payday loan personal loan rates cash loan [url=http://personalervxv.com/]personal loan rates[/url] ’

  48. HhhjUnwing says:

    loan consolidation bad credit personal loans adverse credit payday loans [url=http://personalacrb.org/]personal loan rates[/url] ’

  49. KvsAbsele says:

    debt consolidation help best payday loans bad credit loans for military payday loans for mil [url=http://paydaydvtb.com/]payday loans online[/url] ’

  50. Gbwblexug says:

    cash and payday loans cash advance payday loan brokers [url=http://cashzwvgx.org/]payday loans[/url] ’

  51. BbecStoofe says:

    instant loans for bad credit best online payday loans guaranteed loan approval online [url=http://paydayvax.org/]cash loans[/url] ’

  52. Blopwrebra says:

    check cash payday loans america payday loan [url=http://loansvtna.org/]cash advance[/url] ’

  53. Cbaxcreeda says:

    payday loans no credit check no faxing online payday advance loans now bad credit [url=http://cashrkol.com/]online payday advance[/url] ’

  54. BzevSmuche says:

    get loans online loan bad credit poor credit loans [url=http://paydaervx.com/]cash advance online[/url] ’

  55. BzevSmuche says:

    payday advance payday loans near me payday cash advance [url=http://paydaervx.com/]installment loan[/url] ’

  56. LbsiObjews says:

    fast cash loans payday loan debt consolidation [url=http://paydayacevt.com/]cash advance[/url] ’

  57. Blopwrebra says:

    bad credit easy payday loan payday loans online direct payday loans [url=http://loansvtna.org/]payday loans online[/url] ’

  58. Bazelayecy says:

    500 payday loans easy personal loan payday cash advances [url=http://personalervxv.com/]apply personal loan[/url] ’

  59. Ffvelerma says:

    cheap liquid cialis cialis cialis for sale in canada [url=http://cialisovnnc.com/]buy cialis[/url] ’

  60. Fvvsstamma says:

    buy cialis generic online cialis buy cialis pharmacy [url=http://cialisoanzb.com/]generic cialis[/url] ’

  61. KmjjOthete says:

    how to use viagra generic viagra what is viagra used for [url=http://viagrapfhze.com/]generic viagra[/url] ’

  62. Nnbcpneup says:

    viagra brand price viagra online cheap viagra [url=http://viagraghhde.com/]generic viagra[/url] ’

  63. Fvbanymn says:

    cheap online female cialis cialis online cialis professional generic [url=http://cialisovnas.com/]buy cialis[/url] ’

  64. LlkmEvine says:

    viagra sales online viagra generic purchase female viagra [url=http://viagraoplws.com/]generic viagra[/url] ’

  65. JncxPhalk says:

    viagra mail order online viagra over the counter viagra alternative [url=http://viagraocns.com/]buy viagra[/url] ’

  66. GocaJady says:

    which viagra is best
    viagra generic
    viagra triangle chicago
    cheap viagra

  67. sverigapotek says:

    Sverige göteborg, http://sverige-apotek.life/modaton.html , generisk billigt malmö.

  68. Ffvelerma says:

    cialis prescription cialis generic does cialis work for women [url=http://cialisovnnc.com/]generic cialis[/url] ’

  69. VffgStync says:

    cialis generic online cialis cialis one a day review [url=http://cialisivndh.com/]buy cialis[/url] ’

  70. KmjjOthete says:

    female viagra pills viagra viagra wholesale [url=http://viagrapfhze.com/]generic viagra[/url] ’

  71. JncxPhalk says:

    free viagra viagra generic viagra reviews [url=http://viagraocns.com/]viagra[/url] ’

  72. Fvvsstamma says:

    cialis mg dosage cialis generic cheapest cialis online [url=http://cialisoanzb.com/]cialis online[/url] ’

  73. Ensuern says:

    how viagra works animation
    generic viagra
    viagra tie
    cheap viagra online

  74. LlkmEvine says:

    viagra for cheap viagra generic generic viagra overnight [url=http://viagraoplws.com/]online viagra[/url] ’

  75. Scrbordete says:

    cialis online buy cheap cialis cialis soft pills [url=http://cialisofkl.com/]cialis buy[/url] ’

  76. onerse says:

    free viagra sample pack by mail
    cheap viagra
    does blue cross cover viagra
    generic viagra online

  77. Kndtclearo says:

    viagra purchase viagra online buy real viagra [url=http://viagraveikd.com/]online viagra[/url] ’

  78. Kndtclearo says:

    cheap viagra india generic viagra brand name viagra online sales [url=http://viagraveikd.com/]buy viagra[/url] ’

  79. Nnbcpneup says:

    viagra sales online cheap viagra viagra pills for sale [url=http://viagraghhde.com/]online viagra[/url] ’

  80. Scrbordete says:

    cialis once a day pricing cialis buy cialis overnight delivery [url=http://cialisofkl.com/]cialis[/url] ’

  81. Fvbanymn says:

    ordering cialis cheap cialis cialis toronto [url=http://cialisovnas.com/]cialis generic[/url] ’

  82. Licesype says:

    how viagra was discovered
    viagra cheap
    women’s viagra
    generic viagra

  83. Gombhido says:

    viagra mail order
    buy generic viagra
    viagra generic online
    buy viagra online

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>