The schizophrenic is unable to separate oneself from his or her present environment. The schizophrenic understands his identity primarily through the present state due to a lack of historical continuity. Ideally, the present state is constructed through a mnemonic system of memory, the present state is thus a collapsed perception of the present in accordance with knowledge acquired though historical continuity. The schizophrenic experience is an experience of isolated, disconnected, discontinuous material images which fail to link up into a coherent sequence. The sense of self is not found in the historical continuity of a mnemonic system of memories, but rather, in the immediate trace towards one’s origin. Ultimately, the trace is a secondary manifestation to the process of creation or erasure. Thus, the schizophrenic is constantly negotiating the trace itself, and the reification of the trace.
The schizophrenic memory of the Chinatown is an experience of a series of autonomous images without a coherent historical continuity. Because of its inherent characteristics due to the influx in foreign investments beginning the late 1970s and the emphasis of the spectacle commerce since the disintegration of manufacturing jobs and the rise of tourism, proposes an inhabitant of Chinatown to negotiate the traces of political and social environmental changes rather than negotiate, or map its historical coordinates and consider the actual memory of the space.
If a specific memory of a space wants to be remembered, images derived from each space should be placed in a logical sequence so that the orator can literally walk through while he recites his speech. Therefore, the memory system can hold the knowledge in a logical sequence, and retain the knowledge for a substantial amount of time. This is dependent mainly on the strength of the memory of the loci rather than the image of the memory. This memory system is a technique to mediate the schizophrenic memory of Chinatown.
Cicero, in his writing, De Oratore tells the story of the Greek poet, Simonides to illustrate a method of remembering. Cicero utilizes the analogy of Simonides as part of his discussion of memory regarded as one of the phases of rhetoric. In ancient times rhetoric teachers provided memory instruction because, in those days before inexpensive paper and writing implements, public speakers had to memorize an entire speech, or at least the sequence of main topics.
The method of loci, as prescribed by Cicero, utilizes the secondary images of memory in a structure in which the orator, or the person remembering, tells the memory of the space instead of relying on the image as a pure representation of the past.
[Simonides] inferred that persons desiring to train this faculty [of memory] must select places and form mental images of the things they wish to remember and store those images in the places, so that the order of the places will preserve the order of the things, and the images of the things will denote the things themselves, and we shall employ the places and images respectively as a wax writing-tablet and the letters written on it. (Cicero, De Oratore, II, lxxxvi – translation: Sutton & Rackham, 1942).
The following is the story of Simonides:
Simonides was hired by Scopa, a nobleman of Ceos, to celebrate Scopa’s recent victory in the wrestling ring. Simonides was commissioned to sing the lyric poem at a banquet attended by a multitude of guests. The poem was divided in two parts, structured to derive from Simonides liability of praise. The first part of the poem celebrated Scopa, the later part was devoted to the twin gods, the Dioscuri. Scopa was not pleased with this piety and paid the poet only half of his fee, telling him to “go to the gods” to collect the rest. Before Simonides could finish his dinner, a servant informed him that two strangers were waiting outside to speak with him; but when he got outside, there was no one to be seen. While Simonides was absent, the roof of the hall collapsed, killing all the celebrants. So mangled were the corpses, that their relatives were unable to identify them. When Simonides stepped forward to summon each relative, he named each of the many corpses on the basis of where they were located in the huge banquet hall. This feat of total recall is said to have convinced Simonides of a basic prescription for remembering—he used an orderly arrangement of locations into which he could place the images of things or people that were to remembered or summoned. To do this, he attached the guest’s name to his place at the table to remember it more easily.