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From: "Mooncalf" 
Subject: Re: Re: (urth) What becomes of THE WONDERS OF URTH AND SKY
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 2003 03:28:05 -0400

Ashley Crill pointed out (regarding why Sev needs to retain a book after he
[apparently] read it):
> Severian mentions at one point in Claw that he has never read the entire
book. Perhaps he never finishes the thing during his journey.

Good point. Also Severian mentions that while he never forgets anything he
doesn't always have instant recall. Therefore it might be faster (and
easier) for him to go back to the original source rather than trying to
search through his memory in order to bring up a particular passage.

It's all a crock though in my opinion. At least in regards to him having a
perfect memory. Perhaps he is trying to deceive us or just himself. Who
knows. But of course no one can truly claim with any certainty to having
such a memory. Not unless somehow everything in one's life has been recorded
and can therefore be played back in order to determine the accuracy of that
claim. Otherwise how would you know? I mean even if you could remember
verbatim what you read in some book and can verify it by going back to that
book and checking...still,  that doesn't mean that your other memories will
also be 100% accurate (i.e., you might have a better memory for what you
read as opposed to what you heard or what you saw...or you might even
unconsciously replace certain true memories, for whatever reason, with false

Then again does he ever say he has a perfect memory or just that he never
forgets?* If only the latter then maybe he means it not so much in that he
has a photographic type of memory but rather that he can simply recall, say,
what he had for lunch five years, three months, and two days ago (roast beef
and peas) on a very uneventful day. Perhaps not how many peas there were or
how many bites it took to finish the roast beef, but rather just that he
didn't forget about having had that meal and what it generally consisted of.
To most of us, i'd wager, we'd consider that amazing and that therefore he
was well justified, at least in some sense, in claiming he never forgets.
Especially since most of us can't recall what we had during an ordinary
lunch on an ordinary day a mere 20 days ago (or even whether we had lunch
that day or not, if we're prone to skipping them once in a while). Memories
like that are soon "lost in the mist" for us but maybe they're still there
for Severian, though maybe not down to the very last detail. That would
explain his lapses at times and also why he might feel the need to carry
books around with him that he's already read.


*lol, i was just thinking how great it'd be if someone on this list had a
perfect memory and we could turn to that person with our many inquiries of
this sort


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