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theories on memory expressed in the Dark Tower

theories on memory expressed in the Dark Tower

Postby Robert » 03 Mar 2009, 17:10

I am not sure which forum to post this in since it is in reference to the Dark Towers, but the question I have is in regards to a theory proposed in the book. So, I felt that this one would be the best one to post it in.

OK, most of us have read the fragment of a novel published decades ago posthumously called the Dark Tower. Apparently the second installment in what would have been a four book series and not the trilogy we have today. Yes we know that. So, in the first chapter we find a group of Oxford Dons, one of whom is Ransom our beloved hero, discussing the possibilities of time travel. Naturally, this sets the stage for the subsequent events of soul, or consciousness, migration from one body to another; on the assumption that there is only so much matter in the universe and the only transfer of substance from one time to another is through conscious states.

However, in developing this theory, or agreeing that this is the only sort the universe allows, the idea hinges upon how the mind perceives memory. As such, there is a flat denial of what is referred to in Philosophy as trace memory theory, or representationalism. Ultimately, we have the dons agreeing with what they call a theory where the mind perceives directly past and future events. The former represent occasional glimpses that are misunderstood or perhaps related to ghost tales or mysticism. And the latter such phenomena as déjà vu.

Furthermore, there is a hint that the entire pail of imagination is not as is presupposed in traditional philosophy as being the creation of the mind. Rather, the mind is, like an eye, receiving images which it itself does not create. I must say I have been fascinated with this theory for some years now. In fact, the closest I can figure that comes to addressing it in Scholastic Philosophy is Four-Dimensionalism theory. Of course, this sort only deals with counterfactuals and hypotheticals without the ontological ambition of what is being suggested by the dons in the Dark Tower.

What I would like to know is, do any of you agree with this theory? As well, do you feel that this general idea has larger implications that could affect, either directly or indirectly, a much larger spectrum of issues ranging from epistemology, ontology and the like? And lastly, do you feel that Lewis may have subscribed to this view on memory and the mind or was it a mere fancy he jotted down for a book? And if the former, is there any evidence of his views on mind and memory as relating to a direct perception of reality as a opposed to it being a filter and actively creative faculty in any of his other works?
[I am] Freudian Viennese by night, by day [I am] Marxian Muscovite

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