重庆韦博英语
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重庆韦博英语 The Curse of Reading and Forgetting(三)
重庆韦博  2014/3/31 20:45:39

  If we are cursed to forget much of what we read, there are still charms in the moments of reading a particular book in a particular place. What I remember most about Malamud’s short-story collection The Magic Barrel is the warm sunlight in the coffee shop on the consecutive Friday mornings I read it before high school. That is missing the more important points, but it is something. Reading has many facets, one of which might be the rather indescribable, and naturally fleeting, mix of thought and emotion and sensory manipulations that happen in the moment and then fade. How much of reading, then, is just a kind of narcissism—a marker of who you were and what you were thinking when you encountered a text? Perhaps thinking of that book later, a trace of whatever admixture moved you while reading it will spark out of the brain’s dark places.
  Memory, however, is capricious and deeply unfair. It is why I can recall nothing about how a cell divides, or very little about “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” but can sing any number of television theme songs in the shower. The words that researchers use about forgetting are all psychically hurtful for the layperson: interference, confusion, decay—they seem sinister and remind us of all the sad limitations of the human brain, and of an inevitable march toward another kind of forgetting, which comes with age, and what may be final forgetting, which is death.
  This may be a minor existential drama—and it might simply be resolved with practical application and a renewed sense of studiousness. There is ongoing dispute as to the ways in which memory might be improvable. But certainly there are things that we can do to better remember the books we read—especially the ones that we want to remember.
  即使我们注定要忘掉所读之书的大部分内容,但在特定的地点读一本特定的书仍有其独特魅力。就拿马拉默德的短篇小说集《魔桶》来说,我记得最清楚的就是上高中前,每个周五的早上在咖啡店里读书时那温暖的阳光。虽说我没有记住更为重要的东西,但这也自有其意义。阅读有许多层面,其中一面就是那种难以描述、转瞬即逝的感觉,那种思想、情感和各种感官经历糅合在一起的感觉,倏忽即来,倏忽即去。那么,阅读在多大程度上仅仅是一种自恋呢——一种在邂逅某个文本时对你个人、你所思所想的标记?也许,以后回想起这本书时,在你头脑的最深处会冒出一丝火花,想起读书时那令你感动的一点一滴。
  然而,记忆是反复无常、极度不公的。正因为如此,我才无法回忆起细胞是如何分裂的,也很难记起《希腊古瓮颂》,但却能在淋浴时唱起许多电视节目主题曲。研究者在描述遗忘时所用的词汇对普通人来说全部是一种精神伤害:干扰、混乱、衰退。这些词似乎都很邪恶,总在提醒我们人类大脑可悲的局限和注定要走向的随年龄增长而来的另一种遗忘,以及终极遗忘——死亡。
  遗忘或许是一出令人忧伤的存在主义戏剧,也许可以简单地通过实际应用和一种全新的好学精神加以解决。对于改善记忆的各种方法,人们一直存在争议。但可以肯定的是,我们可以采取一些方法来更好地记住我们所读的书籍,特别是我们想要记住的书籍。

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