Your Head, Mind
“The witness appeals to the immediate presence of truth in his statement (“I have been there!”) and feels bitterly betrayed when confronted with a dismissive attitude in the listener. An old Russian saying seems to be confirmed in all its cynical realism. A man who lies through his teeth, it says, “lies like an eyewitness”. A similar line of reasoning disqualifies the witness as witness, not only in the falsifications of the denier but in the constructions of bona fide theorists as well as, it would seem, in the testimony of the witness himself: the impossibility of surviving and witnessing, of surviving and judging. The witness is essentially unreliable precisely because there are always a poetics and a politics in the act of bearing witness.”
Are my words scripted or unscripted? The witness is always prepared. Am I apprehending my testimony, and as such, am I always pre-rehearsing my script? More often than not there is another entity anticipating the pre-rehearsing, and preparing, searching for the gaps. How do I define the gaps in our testimony? The gaps in my memory? That which cannot be explained? I must use my emotional sensations to formulate a concept of what has been witnessed. And the formulation of a secondary ‘gap’, which is the gap for my cultural and historical memory. As I move into witnessing, I must consider my habit for building memory, and building memory out of that which I have and have not experienced and that which has already happened.
I must ask, who is the witness? who witnesses the witness?