Dreams of Home

He inferred that persons desiring to train this faculty (of memory) must select places and form mental images of the things they wish to remember and store those images in the places, so that the order of the places will preserve the order of the things, and the images of the things will denote the things themselves, and we shall employ the places and the images respectively as a wax writing-tablet and the letters written upon it.

Cicero, De oratore. Traslated by E.W. Sutton and H. Rackham.

On the 11th I dreamed of a house that was a blend of many former homes. A long hallway connected a series of rooms, as was the case in the last apartment in Naples, and the second one in New York. The last bedroom was a combination of a bedroom in Shanghai and one from the apartment in Naples.

The master bedroom in Naples, more than a decade after it was vacated.

In the dream, my brother woke me. I had overslept, and was confused. Apparently, I'd missed a flight. As I started to waken (in the dream), I realized I'd not actually missed the flight, but was very late in getting ready for it. A driver was waiting, the image was of a black car outside the apartment complex in Shanghai. It was night, and raining hard. I vaguely recall speaking to the driver on the phone – he was an American, from Boston, though like myself also an immigrant.

In the last bedroom, speaking with my parents about the upcoming journey, my mother asked where I would be staying. Would it be at the Roosevelt Hotel – or home? I told her I wanted to stay home. That was the end of the dream.

Curtains in Shanghai.

If we are not content with our ready-made supply of backgrounds, we may in our imagination create a region for ourselves and obtain a most serviceable distribution of appropriate backgrounds.

Rhetorica ad Herrenium. Translated by Harry Caplan.

It was a stereotypical one in many ways – the prominence of architecture, and the compression of architectural features from different places into a single contiguous location. I wonder if these are the mind's attempts to establish continuity, by crafting a consistent signal from many varied ones – a superposition of neural waves.

Then, the ambiguity of home. Traveling to a different place, but having the option of staying home. Roosevelt Island – where I've been living since 1994 – designated hotel, not home.

Roosevelt Island.

On the 16th I dreamed of Montesanto. The weather in March is possibly a trigger, a reminder of travels in Italy and Europe while on Spring Break. Even now, watching the darkening dusk, the memories come flooding back.

Philosophy in the 21st Century