Collapsing Boundaries Among I’s; Collapsing Time

Small Epiphanies: December 10

I am re-reading my dissertation in preparation for the defense on Wednesday.

Finally.

And I like it.

There. Now the gods will smack me down. Narcissus all over again.

My car will break down on the way to Columbia. My book bag will spring open, of its own will, and my single copy of my dissertation will fly out, page by individual page, and float down W. 12o St. like giant snowflakes getting run over and turned to grey slush by car tires.

I will arrive at the defense out of breath, sweaty, dissertation-less, discombobulated, and ready to write one of those Worst Case Scenario Survival handbooks.

But let me first ask you this: Is dementia an epic metaphor for post-structural notions of memory?

Smith and Watson tell us this:

Readers often conceive of autobiographical narrative as telling unified stories of their lives, as creating or discovering coherent selves. But both the unified story and the coherent self are myths of identity. For there is no coherent “self” that predates stories about identity, about “who” one is. Nor is there a unified, stable, immutable self that can remember everything that has happened in the past. We are always fragmented in time, taking a particular or provisional perspective on the moving target of our pasts, addressing multiple and disparate audiences.

We are always fragmented in time. Our selves, our subjectivities are decentered, unknowable, fragmented. Is dementia a loss of the ability to impose culturally acceptable narratives, to stay put in one time, to stay put in one narrative? To stay put as one’s present, in-the-moment I? It dementia a collapsing of the boundaries between all those momentarily-existing I’s?

One Response to “Collapsing Boundaries Among I’s; Collapsing Time”

  1. You are going to blow them away tomorrow. Not that I have read a lot of them, but I can honestly say your diss is the most creative, thought provoking, and fun academic writing I have ever read. The selves that wrote your masterpiece all should take a bow. Good luck tomorrow but it is your committee who should be thanking you. I will be sending positive vibes to you all day long. Now to sushi and beyond!

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