Posts Tagged: free association

Nov 14


My little half-Dachsund dog Daisy–made me think of Fred Astaire. This is because her claws are overdue for clipping and when she ambles along on the hardwood floor I hear a distinct pattern, TICKeta TICKeta ticketa TOCK, TICKeta TICKeta ticketa TOCK… sounding just like a tap dance pattern. So I’m bemusedly listening to my dog, and this tap dance association brings an image of Fred Astaire to my mind. I flickeringly see him dancing. This leads to an image of Ginger Rogers, which associates its way through my mind to another cinematic memory of Glinda, which leads to the Wizard of Oz and suddenly I hear the song Ding Dong the Witch is Dead in my mind. Because I’m trained to keep some attention separated out to watch my mind I see visual images that go with each link of associations–I glimpse Fred Astaire, visually, and eventually see happy Oz residents singing gleefully about the witch, all in a moment or two.

Patterns of free association are of interest to me. They’re not so free, really. You could, in fact, break down an essay by, say, Emerson into deliberate linkages of associations; it’s a verbal sculpture made of associations, leading to an overall shape. Is everything just associative? Do the linkages constitute largely meaningless concatenation that, via an Emerson, might be ordered to reflect subjective human reality? Are they too another indicator of reductionistic hopeless randomness?

Or do they, broadly viewed, signify the unity of things, and the ongoing musical soloing of events playing out?