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So, we are haunted. Nietzsche’s “specter”.design delivers the “chain” of memory to an unsuspecting subject. The reception of a variety of experiences and images, real and/or imagined, remains always and forever with that person. We do not forget. We cannot put aside, overcome, or disregard anything, especially that which is conveyed to us through experience and education. As Nietzsche proposes, it is not possible to completely deny our past. Yet, there are those of us who wish this were possible; they desire a loss of memory so that they may return to some primal state, so that they might act on instinct alone. Granted, the world in Nietzsche’s day was no more civilized than today, but somehow, in our current postindustrial/information society, we too feel that instinct escapes our grasp. We cannot fail to remember our civilized selves.design The question is, Do we possess any less instinct than our forbearers? And if so, How is it that we have lost our capacity for free activity? Can it be that the accumulation of experience and information pushes instinct aside? Indeed, Nietzsche goes on to write that learning banishes the free spirit and annihilates instinct. But still, we dream of a state where, unencumbered by trained responses and conditioning, we engage the world directly like a child or an animal. We know that to do so would entail a willful loss of memory.design Nietzsche suggests that to forget is to return to a time before learning. Forgetting is to revive the child or the purely instinctual animal who is not bound to repeat all that is learned. Yet, Nietzsche states that we “cannot learn to forget. . . .” Is forgetting then impossible? Coincidentally, it is Nietzsche who forgets, as the French philosopher Jacques Derrida notes in his exegesis of Nietzsche’s writing. Derrida quotes a fragment from Nietzsche’s Joyful Wisdom. The German philosopher writes, “I have forgotten my umbrella.” By his own inscription, Memory, Instinct, and Design: Beyond Paul Rand’s “Play Principle” Nietzsche remembers that he forgets. There is a momentary lapse of memory, but it is not absolute—erasure, for Nietzsche, and for us, is never complete. This is the acute paradox of Nietzsche’s specter. If we cannot learn to forget, and that which is not learned is instinctual, then forgetting must be instinctual. And memory, a capacity we are born with, works in much the same way. By Nietzsche’s logic, recollection must be instinctual because if it is not taught, thus it must be innate. Essential to this essay is, however, a reading of Nietzsche’s assertion as a remembrance of a past before learning, before the annihilation of instinct. My intention is to reveal that most important specter—instinct—which cannot take solid form but is ever ready to remind us that we can remember to forget. This activity, furthermore, is necessary to learning.design