Tony Gorry - MEMORY'S ENCOURAGEMENT
In MEMORY'S ENCOURAGEMENT, Tony Gorry reflects on his post-war childhood, exploring the ways that memories can interweave with present reality. He draws out the scenes of his early days, on the surface mundane, but filled with feeling—helping his mother, adventuring with his dog, sledding, cloud-watching, and learning slowly about the world of small-town New York and the attitudes and principles that govern his parents’ generation.
Then, too, he “remembers” events at which he was never present—the evening his father and mother met, his father’s experiences in World War II —and considers how these recollections, which are not factually memory at all, are just as significant to the way he thinks about and understands his life as those he lived through.
At the center of MEMORY'S ENCOURAGEMENT, Tony Gorry writes about his experience of studying ancient Greek, which he took up in his late sixties, in the hope of reading Homer and Greek authors in their own language. Through this effort, Gorry, one of the first PhDs in Computer Science from MIT, realized the need to slow down in order to learn well. In Homer’s depiction of warriors in battle at Troy or in his account of Odysseus seeking to reestablish himself in Ithaka, the author finds examples that have given him strength.
Mulling over the place of sickness and death in life, Gorry discusses his own experience of living with cancer for many years as well as the decline of his parents and uncle.
A thoughtfulness and courage are the hallmarks of MEMORY'S ENCOURAGEMENT. Deepened by his memories and imagination, enriched by reading, Gorry gives readers an example of how to find significance in one’s life.
G. Anthony Gorry is the Friedkin Professor Emeritus of Management at Rice University. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics.