I read an extract from the 'Walking at Goldhanger' chapter of Pieces of Light, which describes a walk I took along the Essex coastline in search of memories of my Dad. One of my interests in this book is in how we negotiate memories of people who are no longer here—with 'negotiate' being the operative word. I talked about how memory functions as a kind of bricolage, a putting-together from 'scrounged materials intended for other purposes', to use Meades' words. We reconstruct the past by putting together different kinds of information—sensory, perceptual, factual, semantic—and creating the collage in different ways each time we are called upon to remember.
There were some great comments from the floor, including one accusation that I was being 'intellectually arrogant' by claiming authoritative knowledge about how the questioner's own memory worked. I responded by saying that I wasn't just reporting the findings of a couple of psychological surveys, but rather summing up decades of careful research by outstanding scientists who have used a range of different methods. If it is intellectually arrogant to aim for a robust, phenomenologically sensitive science of human experience (which challenges the myths of memory's function and rejects a simplistic reliance on introspection and 'just-knowing'), then I will happily accept the charge.