Thanks so much for this post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It set
me thinking on a number of tangents. Oh, rainy Sundays have their use,
I thought you made many useful comments, especially about googling,
indexing and unconscious memory. I'll snip the whole post, bar the
last line. I hope that's OK :-)
So Herman, what do you think memory is in a Buddhist context?I think of memory, outside a Buddhist context, as both the bones and
the flesh of our existences, whatever that may be. Memory is at least
three-fold, conscious memory, unconscious memory and non-conscious memory.
You have addressed the first two, I'll spend a bit of time on the last
one. Non-conscious memory is the same as information. Below are some
definitions of how I would use the term information.
Information is a representation of a state of affairs which will allow
the re-formation and trans-formation of that state of affairs. As in
the case of DNA. No mind involved.
Information is a pattern or cycle. No mind involved.
Information is the opposing trend in systems that tend to greater
disorder, by reducing the uncertainty of that system (i.e. introducing
predictability into that system). For example, a puddle may inform of
an earlier rain shower. A coal deposit may inform of a swamped forest
millions of years ago.
In a Buddhist context, I do not think the concept of inanimate
information had any currency in Gautama's time. Which I can live with :-)
I think there might be a rough equivalence between memory and sanna,
which receives almost no attention in the entire tipitaka. Which is
very curious, considering how it is our entire existence.