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Memory/history and information/energy

by on April 22, 2013

(A better-late-than-never blog post)

I found DeLanda’s discussion of memory in chapter 7, “Neural Nets and Mammalian Memory,” to be exceedingly valuable – specifically, in the interest of working through my seminar, in helping me work through some lines of questioning that have remained frustratingly not-quite-convergent until now.

In particular, I took a lot away from DeLanda’s description, in the chapter’s opening, of the need to distinguish between the concepts of significance and signification. Signification, as DeLanda describes it, is a specifically “linguistic notion,” pertaining to the symbolic representation and interpretation of an event (95). He distinguishes this from the significance of an event, which is “related to its capacity to make a difference in an animal’s life, to its capacity to affect and be affected by the animal’s actions” (95).

DeLanda’s description of this distinction has been particularly helpful for me, as I sort through notions of memory/history, in the sense of each pertaining to the accumulation, organization, processing, and presentation of information pertaining to (past) events. I have been trying to approach information from a non-linguistic perspective, handling the notion in terms of perturbations and difference – essentially, of physical affect.  DeLanda’s explication of significance is one of the more cogent I have encountered thus far, and seems to me to offer valuable insight into any discussion of literary texts, and their history, that hopes to account for their being in anything but the most strictly linguistic and symbolic terms – that is, in thinking of the text in terms of its function as a sort of memory, an apparatus for the storage of information/energy, only some of which can properly be classified as linguistic or symbolic.

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From → DeLanda

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