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182 remember in

182 remember in language. Language becomes the guiding thread essential for thought, word and writing, leading us to the pillars of memory. As Rilke phrased it in one of his lectures, Rodin’s sculptures either depended on finding their place on an elevated spot in the landscape or they needed special buildings that were already in existence. What Merleau-Ponty described as the space-creating power of the human body in space, applies with particular inevitability to Rodin: “In eighteenth-century houses and their stately parks his nostalgic gaze saw the dying face of the inner world of time. And with patience he recognized in this face the features of the connection with nature that has since been lost.” 352 With varying contrasts Rodin created in stone and marble softly flowing movements that allowed the hard materials to be forgotten. These are carved memories of life, showing that “the entire body consists of scenes of life.” 353 Rodin chisels these traces into the material, which itself becomes a bearer of memories. “When Rodin concentrates the surfaces of his works into culminating points, when he uplifts to greater height the exalted or gives more depth to a cavity, he creates an effect like that which atmosphere produces on monuments that have been exposed to it for centuries.” 354 Neuroarchitecture versus Cognitive Impairment Just as the first passages of the summary of neuroscientific research in this book referred to Marcel Proust’s depictions and mega-systems of inscription that were influential in the context of Bergson’s reception in France in leaving their mark over many years on the field of perception psychology and associated neuro-theoretical questions, the potentials of architectural planning can be seen in a literature that considers it owes a duty to questions of movement and memory. Distinguishing features will no longer be linguistically defined clusters but will rather focus on descriptions devoted to extensive, space-defining expansions of the human body. Once again, they will show that it is the consciousness of our body that becomes effective as an image of individual and identificatory measurements. In the posthumously published notebooks of an author who is rarely quoted in these contexts, mention can finally be made of the influence of the reception of Bergson, which became widespread around 1920, whose significance for phenomenological anthropology can be made clear. In the field of neuroarchitectural literature, Paul Valéry, a prominent man of letters and later a professor of poetics, fills the gap between Bergson’s reception of Marcel Proust, Rainer Maria Rilke’s surface experiences from the time he spent with Auguste Rodin in Paris in the early years of the twentieth century, and the knowledge that grew out of perception psychology, which Maurice Merleau-Ponty developed in the 1930s and pursued to the end of his life. All of this is set out in Valéry’s notebooks. Merleau-Ponty follows on from many of the themes

POTENTIALS OF NEUROARCHITECTURE 183 of Valéry, whose aims and leitmotifs of a theory of phenomenological knowledge of the human body as an animate body appear in various combinations and refer to images that can be found in Valéry’s diaries as well as in writings relevant to architecture. Here there are spaces, bodies, buildings arranged in the form of organized relationships (columns, doors, windows) as well as volumes and surfaces, and described as means of bodily experience and anchors for the memory. The memory is recognized as human identity. “Memory makes man a unity. Without memory there would be only isolated transformations.” 355 It develops over the course of a lifetime and distinguishes the child from the adult and from the aging. In the form and richness of memories, a person appears not merely through his language but especially through his actions and in the activity of his moving body. Even at rest a person has an attitude that makes it possible to draw conclusions. Somehow the positions of the body and changes in them reveal an unmistakable individuality. Ego and body are henceforth inseparable as body consciousness and are even understood as mobile sensory space within space, with every division in the fields of the theory considered only as a hypothetical construction. The starting point is also a body consciousness whose rules have no need of language. It is more a matter of intuitively experienced processes that are learned, stored, and unconsciously remembered and repeated over many years. This action, described as body consciousness, takes place at the edges of linguistic possibilities and their description. “And our mature memory would be the result of a very complex collaboration or association. Note in passing that I cannot unlearn how to walk, at least not deliberately and for moments. Walking means remembering oneself.” 356 However, this remembering takes place in the body itself; it forms our identity that, amazingly, in this case exceptionally has no need of language. As a compaction of experiences laid down as memories in the body-like sediments, the body approaches the nature of a material. Sensory impulses that generate our cognitive features are inscribed in this material. Density becomes a theme for Valéry. “Child and adult are psychologically distinguished in particular by the density of memory, and this density does not lie primarily in the quantity, but is based in connection and in the formation of groups.” 357 Here the density of traces, inscriptions, and networks already describes neural characteristics. Valéry’s notebooks contain various sketches of buildings, sailing boats, and even switching circuits. Electrical parts such as magnets, coils, and resistors are connected in a circuit. Valéry uses this to show an analogy between electromagnetic currents and their effects and the inscriptions and engravings in the brain that are written into the memory by positive experiences. “The memory is just as important and obscure as gravity or forgetting.” 358 Like electrical induction, a current generated by magnetic activity, thinking and