Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Meme Me No Memes, Please



One of my favorite blogs is Rensselaer Adventures which keeps me informed about the ongoing happenings in my original hometown in Northwest Indiana. Showcased recently was Cruise Night in Rensselaer wherein some antique cars were displayed, one with a 'rumble seat.' And that made me think about the car my Uncle Buddy (the late Marvin Morris) owned back in about 1945 just after he returned from WWII. It was (if my aging memory can be trusted) a 1939 Ford (built the year I was born) and I just barely remember his driving it all around town with my grandpa and grandma (Otha and Huldah Morris) sitting in the rumble seat.

Uncle Buddy's 1939 Ford Looked A Lot Like This
There is nobody else I know of who is still alive at this time who possesses that particular active memory. Just me. It is somewhat scary for me to realize that when I die all memory of that specific event will have vanished from the Earth. That gives me the responsibility, if I want it to live on, to write about it over and over again. Or else simply let the memory vanish.

In her blog, Greta Christina wrote:

"Consciousness is amazing. The fact that, out of earth and water and sunlight, life developed… and then developed into a form that could be aware of itself and its surroundings? That is amazing. And the fact that life has developed into a form that’s not just aware of itself, but is aware of other conscious beings and their consciousnesses, and is able to connect with them and understand them even in a flawed and limited way? That is amazing squared."

After thinking about this, and mulling it over for a time, I can't help but question it. Not the proposition that Greta finds consciousness amazing. I'm sure she does. It's probably a memetic thing. But the concept of consciousness does not amaze me. All biological life-forms probably have some sort of consciousness to a degree, some of them exhibiting immensely great consciousness (including self- awareness) and others only a microscopically small sense of consciousness.

Those who find consciousness amazing are they who have spun for themselves a mental fantasy that convinces them that their individual sense of consciousness is amazing. And I find it curious that Greta, being such a confirmed atheist, actually finds it so. But this could be my lack of ability to understand deeply profound thoughts within the labored workings of my 74-year-old brain.

I think (and write) about that age-thing a lot.



Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks, otherwise it will digest itself.



On this day, June 9, 1947, in a ceremony held at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, General Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Florence Blanchfield to be a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, making her the first woman in United States history to hold permanent military rank.


meme [meem]
-  A cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes.
-  An idea or element of social behavior passed on through generations in a culture, especially by imitation.

The word goes back to Richard Dawkins' book The Selfish Gene, published in 1976. He argued that ideas are capable of being transmitted through a population, to the extent that they must be thought of as somehow independent of the human brains that host and spawn them. He coined the word meme for such concepts as skills, habits, stories, songs, inventions or ideas that are passed from person to person by imitation.


(born July 9, 1956)
Tom Hanks is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks is known for his roles in Apollo 13, Big, That Thing You Do!, The Green Mile, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, Charlie Wilson's War, Catch Me If You Can, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, A League of Their Own, The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, as well as animated films like the Toy Story film series, The Polar Express, and The Simpsons Movie.

He has earned numerous awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Actor and an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Philadelphia and a Golden Globe, an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a People's Choice Award for Best Actor for his role in Forrest Gump.

Hanks is also known for his collaboration with film director Steven Spielberg on Saving Private Ryan and the mini-series Band of Brothers, which launched Hanks also as a successful director, producer and writer.

(born July 9, 1955)
Jimmy Smits is an American actor. Smits is perhaps best known for his roles as attorney Victor Sifuentes on the 1980s legal drama L.A. Law, as NYPD Detective Bobby Simone on the 1990s police drama NYPD Blue, and as Matt Santos on The West Wing. He is also notable for his portrayal of Bail Organa in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, and Miguel Prado in Dexter. In 2012, he joined the cast of Sons of Anarchy as high-level pimp Nero Padilla.

(born July 9, 1947)
O.J. Simpson, nicknamed "The Juice", is a retired American football player and actor. After retiring from professional football, Simpson had a successful career as a football broadcaster and actor.

In 1995, he was acquitted of the 1994 murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman after a lengthy and internationally publicized criminal trial, the People v. Simpson. In 1997, a civil court awarded a judgment against Simpson for their wrongful deaths; to date he has paid little of the $33.5 million penalty.

In September 2007, Simpson was arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada, and charged with numerous felonies, including armed robbery and kidnapping. In 2008, he was found guilty and sentenced to 33 years' imprisonment, with a minimum of nine years without parole. He is serving his sentence at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada.

(born July 9, 1957)
Kelly McGillis is an American actress. Her breakthrough role came in 1985's Witness for which she was nominated for Golden Globe and BAFTA awards. Her subsequent films include Top Gun and The Accused.


"Words are memes that can be pronounced."
--Daniel C. Dennett


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