27 Nov 2007
Momentary Clarity

We cross the street and I’m alone with EP for the first time. He doesn’t know who I am or what I’m doing at his side, although he seems to sense that I’m there for some good reason. He is trapped in the ultimate existential nightmare, blind to the reality in which he lives. The impulse strikes me to help him escape, at least for a second. I want to take him by the arm and shake him. “You have a rare and debilitating memory disorder,” I want to tell him. “The last 50 years have been lost to you. In less than a minute, you’re going to forget that this conversation ever even happened.” I imagine the sheer horror that would befall him, the momentary clarity, the gaping emptiness that would open up in front of him, and close just as quickly. And then the passing car or the singing bird that would snap him back into his oblivious bubble.

Joshua Foer in Memory – National Geographic Magazine

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