jueves, noviembre 08, 2007


"There is a 41-year-old woman, an administrative assistant from California known in the medical literature only as "AJ," who remembers almost every day of her life since age 11. There is an 85-year-old man, a retired lab technician called "EP," who remembers only his most recent thought. She might have the best memory in the world. He could very well have the worst."

Así comienza este magnífico reportaje que se lee casi como un relato, porque posee la capacidad de emocionarnos, y porque abre a nuestros ojos el abismo de lo que somos. También porque tiene ese punto irreal, casi borgiano, por el cual la lógica cotidiana se subvierte, se distorsiona hasta el punto de que podemos contemplar la propia realidad desde un nuevo prisma más revelador. Y quizá, también, más aterrador.

"My memory flows like a movie—nonstop and uncontrollable," says AJ (...) "I remember good, which is very comforting. But I also remember bad—and every bad choice," she says. "And I really don't give myself a break. There are all these forks in the road, moments you have to make a choice, and then it's ten years later, and I'm still beating myself up over them. I don't forgive myself for a lot of things. Your memory is the way it is to protect you. I feel like it just hasn't protected me. I would love just for five minutes to be a simple person and not have all this stuff in my head. "Most people have called what I have a gift," AJ says, "but I call it a burden."

En el caso de AJ, resulta evidente, la referencia a Borges no era gratuita:

"In his short story "Funes the Memorious," Jorge Luis Borges describes a man crippled by an inability to forget. He remembers every detail of his life, but he can't distinguish between the trivial and the important. He can't prioritize, he can't generalize. He is "virtually incapable of general, platonic ideas." Perhaps, as Borges concludes in his story, it is forgetting, not remembering, that is the essence of what makes us human. "To think," Borges writes, "is to forget."

El caso de EP nos resulta más familiar, más cercano
. No obstante, el poso de lo irreal, de lo terrible, sigue presente en este reverso de la historia de AJ o de la historia de Funes. Habrá que recordarle a Borges que tampoco es el olvido lo que nos hace humanos...

We cross the street and I'm alone with EP for the first time. He doesn't know who I am or what I'm doing at his side, although he seems to sense that I'm there for some good reason. He is trapped in the ultimate existential nightmare, blind to the reality in which he lives. The impulse strikes me to help him escape, at least for a second. I want to take him by the arm and shake him. "You have a rare and debilitating memory disorder," I want to tell him. "The last 50 years have been lost to you. In less than a minute, you're going to forget that this conversation ever even happened." I imagine the sheer horror that would befall him, the momentary clarity, the gaping emptiness that would open up in front of him, and close just as quickly. And then the passing car or the singing bird that would snap him back into his oblivious bubble."

En caso de tener que afrontar la terrible elección, ¿qué preferirías? ¿Vivir encerrado en la tortuosa celda de tus recuerdos? ¿O disolverte en la plácida nada del olvido?

(Agradezco el hallazgo a 3quarksdaily)

2 Comentarios:

Paula dijo...

Un artículo muy interesante y muy bien escrito. El cerebro es un órgano increíble, cuánto desconocemos de él.

Creo que yo preferiría recordar lo más posible antes que olvidarlo, pero es todo una hipótesis, porque en la práctica tal vez sería insoportable.

Insignificante dijo...

En la práctica, quizá sea más doloroso recordar todo que olvidar todo: la segunda opción implica olvidar también tu propio sufrimiento. Es un destino más plácido (para el que lo vive), pero quizá también más triste (para el que lo observa desde fuera)...