La Nuit des Temps Perdu

I should be asleep. But with no working air conditioning and a hyperactive memory, I am online writing this. I wanted to capture something that had struck me today. There are so many things that I know, whether cultural references or historical facts, that I know without having actually experienced or learned them.

I am not blathering on about the philosophy of knowledge and neurology, qualia, or the self, here. I mean that I know what the story of the madeleines is like, despite never having cracked a page of Proust, or I know the in-joke about Steve Martin’s race mistake from the Jerk, despite never seeing so much as a clip, from learning what people find funny or relatable. I know the building techniques of corbelled archways in Mayan cities that I have never even seen many pictures of, from reading about them or hearing others describe them. When I think much more about it, most of what I “know” I have no direct relation to at all! I suppose that this is common to others, but I found it almost novel and surprising when I put it into detailed consideration.

Now, maybe, the gates of Morpheus, either one would be a welcome threshold, will open for me.