|Burnell Poole, two views of HMS Mauretania (c1920)|
The following is a brief excerpt from Roy R. Behrens' "Khaki to khaki (dust to dust): the ubiquity of camouflage in human experience" just published in Ann Elias, Ross Harley and Nicholas Tsoutas, eds, Camouflage Cultures: Beyond the Art of Disappearance (Sydney University Press, 2015). Among its other contributors are Donna West Brett, Paul Brock, Ann Elias, Ross Gibson, Amy Hamilton, Pamela Hansford, Jack Hasenpusch, Ian Howard, Husuan L. Hsu, Bernd Hüppauf, Ian McLean, Jacqueline Millner, Jonnie Morris, Brigitta Olubas, Nikos Papastergiadis, Tanya Peterson, Nicholas Tsoutas, Linda Tyler and Ben Wadham—
How is it that we experience "things" in contrast to surrounding "stuff"?… Like you, I even see my "self" this way. "I am I" and, to follow, I am not "not-I." We typically regard our “selves” as permeable identities in a bouillabaisse of ubiquitous “stuff,” a surrounding that seems to a newborn, in the famous words of William James, like “a blooming, buzzing confusion.” One wonders if this might also explain, as Ernst Schachtel suggested, why we are all afflicted by “childhood amnesia,” leaving us with little or no memory of the first years of our lives, because we lacked the “handles” then—the linguistic categories—that enable us to “grasp” events. In recent years, increased attention has been paid to the various forms of “amnesia” at the opposite end of life, including gradual memory loss, senility, dementia, and the horrifying ordeal of Alzheimer’s. If the boundaries of our figural “self” are blurred when we are newborns, perhaps we should not be surprised that the limits of our “self” grow thin—once again—as we march to the end of existence.