online: 21 march 2006
modified: 21, 27 march 2006

19 march 2006 fatigue and recognition

15:53 ...walking, though tired, through West Heath ... i notice nettles emerging among the dead leaves...

i walk to the Hill Garden... the chance process that is guiding me today does not let me enter but takes me to Sandy Heath where i sit feeling too tired to go on...

...after 20 minutes sunlight replaces grey light through clouds and the still, dead-looking, forest is illuminated throughout... soon i feel able to continue walking, right across the southern heath.

...on the way back by train i recognise a man carrying a baby whom i'd seen on Parliament Hill... and i realised how rare it is in a large city to recognise someone you saw for the first time (in a different place) a few minutes ago... what does it mean 'to recognise'? ...on this occasion: only that it is the same man, and the same baby.

...a few days ago i met several people i'd not seen for decades and i remember a period of about a minute during which i could feel my brain and nervous system replacing a remembered image of a person when younger by the changed image of how he appears now...

I suspect it is upon such fugitive and fragile processes that recognition, acquaintance, relationship, organisation (some of the elements of what we call 'society') depend... So society is a brain function, a construct, not the external reality we suppose...

As i try to imagine this, our predicament, i become aware of a frightening but lifegiving void, surrounding each one of us, that we fill completely with the imagined* reality of the external world... and as i try to think of this i feel at or beyond the edge, if there is one, to coherent thought.

*What S T Coleridge called the primary imagination (as opposed to the secondary imagination, or fancy).

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