Let's say door.
A poor enough object. Not a thing you are inclined to
study with too much attention. I can imagine missing this
room someday, but not the door to this room.
So in the sense of not being overloaded with meaning,
the door is the thing.
Because this is how it is, this is what I am doing.
I've tried to explain the project to people and a lot of
them don't see it, so I feel like damn it, this isn't
incomprehensible. There is a method here and I can explain
I go through this routine. I write a word down, or I
daydream and I think of a thing. For instance, I look up and
I see the door of my room and I think, door. Then I let the
image, or the word - and at this point these things are very
close together - act as an agent of evocation. I let my
mind wander through a list of doors, remembered doors.
In one way, this is a simple procedure embodied in
other aspects of my life. For instance, when I want to
define a term to somebody who doesn't know it, I often find
myself running through a list. It might be a list of
examples, or it might be a list of synonyms. Usually the
person I am talking to will get it, the way a person gets a
joke. The getting of it will be the moment of that
transformation which happens in the world when the the
unfamiliar becomes, suddenly, familiar - which includes such
situations as recognizing a street as well as recognizing
that something is funny. And what the person gets, and what
I have been trying to get at, is that there is a list
principle, something that holds together my list of examples
or synonyms and makes them relevant. The relevance of each
item on the list is the voucher that each item silently
holds that makes them eligible to be on the list, and it is
with reference to that voucher that I would know if one of
the items shouldn't be on the list.
But there is a difference between the grocery list you
took to the store with you and the grocery sack you unload
in the kitchen. You don't peer into the sack and say, ah,
I've bought the list. No, the list is to help you remember
to buy milk, butter, eggs, bread, etc. The question is, are
the memory images that you call up when you decide to
remember doors the type of things that are more like items
on a list, or are they the type of things that lists refer
Insofar as the things I am remembering are like things
on a list, they are like terms. Now terms usually function
in syntactic structures to give meaning. They are part of
statements and questions, they are parts of linguistic
structures which say things about the world. My comparison
of memory images of such things as doors to terms does
extend, actually, beyond the fact that both terms and images
function in syntactically simple lists to include a
similarity in the way in which they function within a
semantic ecology, an environment of references. The memory
of this door or that door refers to something outside of the
memory, namely the door.