Sunday, 19 June 2016
Tradition and Communication
Religion and Cultural Memory (tr. Rodney Livingstone),
Jan Assmann, Stanford University Press, 2006, page 8
If communicative memory must communicate, what does cultural memory do? Jan Assmann says that tradition forms the medium of communication for cultural memory. He cites Aleida Assmann's book 'Time and Tradition':
Tradition can be understood as a special case of communication in which information is not exchanged reciprocally and horizontally, but is transmitted vertically through the generations.
So communicative and cultural memories work differently, have a different span and timebase. As Assmann explains:
If we think of the typical three-generation cycle of communicative meory as a synchronic memory-space, then cultural memory, with its traditions teaching far back into the past, forms the diachronic axis.