May. 18th, 2012

veemignon: (alicewonderland)
The word "perception" came from Latin, originally meaning, "receiving, collection." A collection of senses make up our memories. Sight is usually the strongest, but smell and hearing and sometimes even tactile experiences are lodged in our memories. They play out when one is walking down a street, passing a hot-dog vendor while a childhood memory about grilling flits by one's mind. Or one sees the waves rolling in at the beach and an image is sparked in the mind, that of running across the beach with parents. But these memories are perceived solely through our senses. Filtered through our visions.

Perhaps you never went to the beach with your parents as a small child, but somehow, that image is lodged into your head. Who's to say that you're telling a lie? If what you perceive is the truth, than everything you've ever lived is a lie, because no one else can perceive the truth as you have.

This is what Umberto Eco's Baudolino focuses on. Baudolino is seen as a liar. He was adopted by an emperor, trained in Paris, and created a city simply with words. Niketas doesn't believe him. What Niketas writes down is perceived as history. But history isn't through one pair of eyes, it's through a collection of memories. And I think, by becoming the storyteller that he is, Baudolino has become a collection of people rather than himself. His body houses history; whether it's true or not is up to the reader.

. . . I always felt like a prisoner of something that surpassed the powers of my imagination. )

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