Under woman’s dominance, the neolithic period is pre-eminently one of containers: it is an age of stone and pottery utensils, of vases, jars, vats, cisterns, bins, barns, granaries, houses, not least great collective containers like irrigation ditches and villages.
I recall the jars of Cambodia. These large cisterns of water. In villages. At bus stops. Along the road in front of every rural home.
A storage unit for a quantity of water.
As memorable as the stupas.
A storage unit for memory.
Containers and the mechanisms for filling them. Store and withdraw.
Taming the ebbs and flows of water, enduring the time between harvests.
Reading Kurt Danziger’s “Marking the Mind” I’m encouraged to think there is a parallel here with the domestication of memory. Like food and water, ” memory is marked by a certain degrees of resistance or even recalcitrance. It does not automatically do what one would like or expect it to. It plays tricks on one, refuses its help when one needs it, distorts and decays.” It spoils. It evaporates.
“Can it be tamed?” And so might begin a long history using the “storage metaphor” to understand memory. Leading up to today. Where even the bureaucrats unholy rule is tamed by well designed forms, intelligent processes, an available support community – enfolding assurance of the task in the clarity of the form field to be filled. Feeling of fortitude in a barn filled with the harvest. Clarity in the task to fill it. Even death’s sting can be mitigated by carving out a place in the knoll unto which you may promise yourself, entombed in a burial jar.