I thought Rewriting The Soul was an incredibly insightful, informative read, although perhaps one that was at times staggeringly thorough. Initially i assumed that it’s ultimate goal was to study the disorder of multiplicity- determine its causes and symptoms, etc. I was thus puzzled by the seemingly philosophical questions it posed early on regarding the ‘reality’ of the disease. Although Hacking sets out his main point very early in the book- “the way in which a new science, a purported knowledge of memory, quite self-consciensly was created in order to secularize the soul” (4). Yet as interesting as this idea sounded to me, it still seemed removed from the study of multiplicity- I did not find myself drawing connections between it and the alleged ‘main point’ while reading the immersive case studies included of mpd. As the book wore on, however, I noticed patterns involving the social and political reconstruction of memories involved in the treatment diagnoses of multiplicity within these studies.
The example of therapists ‘creating’ a cause for multiplicity in a patient struck me especially. The looping effect between society and patient I noticed helped me understand a bit better the title of the book, as well as the noted main point. I might be a little (or a lot) off here, but the most compelling theme of the book I gathered was that society is collectively, and maybe subconsciously streamlining or at least coercing peoples habits of and attitudes towards memory through creating a non-spiritual science out of it.
One specific thing i starting thinking about regarding multiplicity was amnesia and forgotten states. Could I be experiencing a state presently that I wont remember once i ‘wake up’ from it, and thats why I assume I’m ‘normal’ right now? Is there even a difference between believing that I am and it being so? After all, we are a hybrid of imagination and reality.