Wednesday, May 7, 2014

First Phase: "Where did I park my car?"

Many people who start to experience this loss of memory think of it as the “normal aging process,” chalking up forgetful tendencies to nothing more than the natural progression of time.  This propensity to overlook early warning signs is normal among most sufferers, and since the account of the individual is unreliable at best, due to the lack of memory retention, diagnosis is usually not discovered for quite some time (Long).
It is not uncommon for many subjects in this stage to hide the symptoms from their loved ones by making lists, or flat out denying that they have any issues at all. If we look at the example of making lists as a way of “holding on,” we must also realize that the list represents, for the subject, a representation of the real: “Therefore, pretending, or dissimulating, leaves the principle of reality intact: the difference is always clear, it is simply masked, whereas simulation threatens the difference between the “true” and the “false,” the “real” and the “imaginary’”(Baudrillard 3).   Thinking in regard to the first order of the simulacra, with the creation of the list the subject is imitating the “real,” allowing room for scrutiny of its authenticity.  The lack of detail and proper simulation is a red flag for those around them, tipping off the fact that a shift is occurring.

This “initial denial” of the prospective disease makes me wonder if it really could be considered denial at all.  If the subject isn’t actually experiencing “forgetting,” that is to say if there’s no inkling of forgetting something in the first place than couldn’t it just be considered a reconstruction, or a shift in reality: “’For the person with a memory impairment, life may just be like constantly coming into the middle of a movie: one has no idea what happened just before what is happening now’” (Long 213)

1 comment:

  1. Very nice discussion at the end there. I am struggling, though, to understand how it will matter that you are applying the stages of simulacra to this disease. Hopefully as we go through it, I will hear more about why it is worthwhile to link Baudrillard to Alzheimer's. I agree that the application works, but why do it?