Hold Fast the Slippings of Imaginings LO26161

From: ACampnona@aol.com
Date: 02/18/01

epistleogramme from a saint,

Dearest Andrew,

Mmmmmm;-) as you'd say;-) When I name forgetfulness, I also know what I
name. Whence should I recognise it if I did not remember it? - and he
called upon the Creator and asked Him, Great is the power of memory; it
is an awe inspiring thing, my God, a profound and limitless multiplicity.
And this thing is the mind, and this I myself am. What then am I, O my
God? What is my nature. It is various and manifold and measureless...

When I hear that there are three kinds of questions - whether a thing is;
what it is; of what kind it is - I do indeed hold fast the images of the
sounds of which those words are composed; and I know that those sounds
passed through the air as a certain noise, and that now they are not. But
I did not ever arrive by sense of the body at the things themselves which
are signified by these sounds, and never perceived them save by my mind.
In my memory I have laid up not their images but themselves. How they
entered into me is for them to tell if they are able. For I examine all
the gates (windows) of my flesh, but cannot find the one through which
they entered. The eyes say: 'If they were coloured, it was we who
announced them.' The ears say: 'If they sounded, we gave notice of them.'
The nostrils say: 'If they had smell, they passed in by us.' The sense of
taste says: 'If they had no flavour, ask not me.' The touch says: 'If it
had not body, I handled it not, and if I did not ever handle it, I could
give no notice of it.' Whence and how did these things enter into my
memory? I do not know. For when I first learned them it was not that I
believed what another told me: I perceived them for myself. I approved
them as true and committed them to my mind, laying them up, as it were, in
a place from which I might fetch them when I wished. So they were there
even before I learnt them, but they were not in my memory. Where were they
then, and how did it come that when they were spoken I acknowledged them
and said: 'So it is, it is true'? They must have been in the memory
already, though far back and concealed, as it were, in more secret
caverns: if they had not been drawn out by someone else bringing my
attention to them, perhaps I might never have been able to think of them
at all.

>From this we find that the process of learning those things which do not
come into us as images through the senses, but which we know as themselves
within us without images, is nothing else but this: by thinking we
concentrate and bring together those notions which had been dispersed and
confused in the memory, arranging them in such a way that, in the same
memory where before they had lain concealed and scattered and neglected,
they are to hand, and thus readily present themselves to the mind that is
familiar with them. How many things of this sort does my memory retain
which, once ,discovered, were, in the way I mention, laid up ready to
hand, and which we are said to have learned and to know! Yet should I
cease recalling them for short intervals of time, they are again
submerged. They slide back, as it were, into the same more remote caverns
- for they have no other home - so that they must be drawn out again as if
they were new, and marshalled (cogenda) again that they may become known.
That is to say, they must be collected (colligenda) from their dispersed
state. From this is derived the word 'cogitate', for cogo (I collect) and
cogito (I recollect) have the same relation to each other as ago and
agito, and facio and factito. But the mind has appropriated to itself the
word 'cogit- ate': not that which is collected anywhere, but only that
which is collected and marshalled in the mind, is properly said to be 'co-

The memory also contains the innumerable principles and laws of numbers
and dimensions. None of these have been impressed upon any sense of the
body, for they have neither colour, nor sound, nor taste, nor smell, nor
palpability. I have heard the sound of the words by which these things are
signified when they are discussed; but the sounds are one thing, the
principles another. For the sounds are one thing in Greek, another in
Latin; but the principles are neither Greek nor Latin, nor of any other
language. I have seen the lines drawn by architects, some of them as fine
as a spider's web; but pure mathematical lines are a very different thing.
They are not the images of those lines shown to me by the eye of my flesh.
He who knows them does so within himself, without any thought of a
physical line. With my bodily senses I have observed also the numbers we
use in counting; but the basic numbers by which we count are of another
kind. They are not even the images of these things, and therefore they
truly exist. Let whoever does not see these things mock me for uttering
them; and while he mocks me I will pity him. All these things I retain in
my memory, and the way that I learnt them I retain there also. I retain,
further, many notions which I have heard falsely argued against them; and
although the notions are false, it is not false that I remember them. I
remember, in addition, that I have distinguished between those truths and
the falsehoods uttered against them; and I see that to distinguish these
now is a different thing to remembering the previous times when, in
reflecting on them, I made the same distinction."

Now in all this, dear Augustine I see a small vessel continually filled
and unfilled. Would it I wonder surprise you to know that some think;-)
that each and every thought is re-created from every coming and going in
and out of nothingness, so that every recalled thinking thing is recovered
anew, every day ten trillion times a nano second. To where are we lost
saint? Into what dispersion of intensified nowness are we ingathered?

"The temporary has to dismantle itself so as to release the freeenergy to
enter the eternal" (AM de Lange)



Materials from St. Augustine



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