Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I read Ong's unpublished essay "Time, Digitization, and Dali's Memory" today. I'd read through the related correspondence earlier to figure out what the essay was. A journal had asked Ong if he'd like to respond to an essay and he'd said maybe. A year later, he sent this essay, which loosely centers around Dali's painting Persistance of Memory with a note that the article may not be what they were looking for. It wasn't, but they said they thought the article was brilliant and suggested Ong seek publication elsewhere. They, however, thought it was an essay on human time, which makes me think they didn't fully understand it. In the article, Ong suggests that Dali's painting is a symptom, a sign, of the socio-cultural matrix that will become digital culture much like Ramus's diagrams were symptoms and signs of print culture [my summary, not Ong's words. Nor does Ong refer specifically to Ramus, though they may have gotten it if he did]. The essay actually hits upon many of Ong's themes including the I-Though, sound (the alphabet is the digitization of sound, which is the point Ong makes in the essay "Hermeneutics Forever," memory as creative invention, etc.

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