Susegad Goan Under Acceleration – II

Speed of life in hair splitting. It has transformed us humans. Today we are in the fast lane. We exhibit what we Goans call Takit. On the wings of technology our life is more and more technicizied. Perhaps we are unable to discern its impact because of an original fault of Plato. Technology and Anthropology has begun to regret it. The beginning of Philosophy saw the separation of techne/ techniques and episteme/Knowledge. Such a distinction did not exist during the Homeric times. This conflict arose in the context of philosophic knowledge and the Sophistic techne whereby all technical knowledge is devalued. It is not that we have not reflected on techne but it has been viewed chiefly through the widow of teleology of ends and means. Techne then is viewed as a means and not that which constitutes our deepest beings. There are several techniques that we use towards our effective being and becoming as humans. In the context of this reflection, I shall take up the technique of memory which is central to our being and becoming. Memory is mainly exteriorised. We have all experienced a loss of memory bearing objects. A loss of photo of a loved one can be profoundly disturbing. The abstraction of alphabets is also a complex fruit of mnemotechniques. We have several memory techniques which are also called mnemotechniques and we can study our mnemo technology with critical attention.

The fast growth of communication technologies has accelerated exteriorisation of memory. Besides, we have bestowed our cognitive abilities to machines like computers and mobiles. As a result our mnemotechniques have transmuted into mnemotechologies. Maybe an example is in here. GPS systems are powerful guides to us or mobile phones are a powerful tool of communication. But dependence on the GPS system disables our cognitive abilities as we do not have to have active memory/ anamnesis but trust the amnemotechology to trace our path. The same is true about a mobile phone. All loss of a mobile phone will show that our memory of our friends and acquaintances are no longer psychic but our instrumentalization in an apparatus that we all call a mobile phone. This means memory technologies have accelerated forgetting in our society. Hence, we have to study how societies forget and not just how they remember. Our memories are fragmented and displaced and therefore can be even manipulated. Our politics exploits these displaced memories to generate their political capital. Hence, our steady loss of active memory has to be a cause of concern for all humans, particularly us Goans. These tremendous possibilities of manipulation of our memories have steadily brought us into societies of control. The accelerated forgetting is fast taking away our active memory and we are left with manufactured memory that haunts us. We will have to understand the hermeneutics of memory/ or shruti that operate in our society.

Our fast pace of life has accelerated forgetting in our society and we are living more and more with fragmented and displaced memories. These memories of the past are not just stored in the monuments but are exteriorized in the living communities. Thus, Goan Christians are being viewed as store houses of the colonial past. Somehow Hindus, Muslims and the Christians carry their past within each other. Each of them read its past in the other. We have to come to terms with the hermeneutics of shruti/ remembrance in our society to build deeper bonds of communal harmony. The same may be viewed as afflicting our nation. Often the perception of the Hindu past is viewed as being written into their minoritized other. Each community functions as memory technology to the other. Thanks to the impacts of acceleration, we can decode how each is storing homes of the memory for the other. We are fast losing our touch with our active memory/ anamnesis and we are more and more in touch with what Plato called hypomnesis, enslaving memory that comes to haunt us today. When memory becomes hypomnesis it becomes political. We are under the grip of displaced fragmented memory or hypomnesis. It has become the grammar of our life. We have become children of this exteriorized memory and have interiorized it as the only truth of our past. This is why we have the ethical imperative to consider and come to terms with the plurality of our pasts and contest the oppressive sigularition of our collective past. We have to critically examine the hermeneutics of shruti that shape the memory of our society and choose what we wish to remember and what we have to forget to save Goa for Goans of all walks of life.

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