Medicines such as Lunesta, Ambien and Sonata have been reported to cause sleepwalking, sleep-eating and acts of “sleep-sex.” Complex behaviors such as “sleep-driving” are increasingly common. Psychologists define this as “driving while not fully awake after ingestion of a sedative hypnotic, with no memory of the event.”
Two passing motorists reported seeing a man on top of a woman near a White Castle and called the police from their cell phones. When the police arrived, the woman, a known sleepwalker, was still asleep. Judge Fanon Rucker was told that the victim sleepwalked through the encounter. The man apprehended, a 52-year-old librarian, was charged with rape. “It goes to consent” said his lawyer. “How would my client know the alleged victim is sleepwalking? How is he to know that a ‘no’ means a waking NO, or that a sleepwalking ‘yes’ means a ‘real’ yes?”
In 1957 I was two years old. My father sent my brother postcards from his trips. My brother was five. My father was collecting plants in Texas. In 1981 I found the stack of postcards in my father’s desk. I had always been attracted to his desk, ever since I was a small child. In 1981 my brother had already been dead for some time. He was 22 when he died. In 1981 I was 26. He seemed older to me then than I thought of myself at that time. My father was 35 when he wrote most of those postcards. He was 61 when I rummaged his desk. He is 87 years old now. His sight is rapidly fading, and he has been waiting to die for three decades. He sees his life as a failure, though he has always claimed his family the most important thing in his life. When he sent those postcards he was involved with science and taxonomy and the future. “Dear son,” he would write, “Today we saw a hognosed snake, some collared lizards, lots of birds and the buffalo that look just like the ones on this card.” I wish I still had those postcards. I’m not sure what happened to them, though my father either obsessively archives things or aggressively throws things away. There is no in-between, either clutter or order, presence or absence, memory or forgetting.
As a philosopher, I think that you can help me with a conundrum. You mentioned that the “wax model” attributed to Plato is erroneous, and that he (Socrates) did not subscribe to such a model. However, I keep coming across it in my research regarding memory and oblivion. I’d be grateful for any clarification you might offer!
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I wouldn’t worry about it, since what you’re suggesting about Plato is fine for your purposes. Plato does indeed consider a model of memory as a wax tablet in the mind, blank at birth, on which the senses plant impressions. He does this in the dialogue _The Theatetus_ in the course of trying to figure out what knowledge is. But he criticizes and rejects this model, and replaces it by the model of the aviary, which he also criticizes and rejects. He finally offers a third account of knowledge, but finally rejects it too, and the dialogue ends without arriving at a conclusion. His actual view of knowledge and the mind, from the dialogue _The Meno_ on, is that genuine knowledge is of the Forms, and is present in the mind at birth, but has to be retrieved by a process of recollection–the so-called docrine of recollection. Much later Locke does adopt the model of the mind that Plato considers and rejects, of the mind as a “tabula rasa” or blank slate at birth, on which the senses inscribe ideas (this blank slate is usually taken to be wax in Locke too). But as I say, I don’t think it makes any difference for your purposes, since even though he rejects it in the end, Plato does indeed describe and consider the blank wax slate model.
Hope this is of some use.