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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Forgive and Forget

An important part of life is forgetting. Not all forgetting is bad: people that survive through ordeals such as the Holocaust or the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia have to drop an enormous amount of memory out of consciousness if they are to live their lives again.

I was reminded of this in the past two weeks as reports came out on marijuana research which indicated that marijuana use leads to memory loss or impairment.
I immediately thought of the endocannabinoids: the naturally occurring "marijuana" within the human body, and wondering if the real function of these "endocans" is to assist in the filtering out of unnecessary detail and the prevention of an "chain reaction" type of uncontrolled build-up of memory. A good example would be an acute awareness while driving on an interstate of all the cars passing by 300 feet away in the lanes heading in the opposite direction; we see them as we drive, but we do not focus on them and collect data, whereas we do this short-term for the cars we are driving along with.

Arianna Huffington writes today:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/social-media_b_1333499.html
Our media culture is locked in the Perpetual Now, constantly chasing ephemeral scoops that last only seconds and that most often don't matter in the first place, even for the brief moment that they're "exclusive." Like, for instance, the BREAKING NEWS!!! that Donald Trump was going to endorse a candidate for president last month. This was the jumping-off point for a great piece by HuffPost's Michael Calderone about the effect that social media have had on 2012 campaign coverage. "In a media landscape replete with Twitter, Facebook, personal blogs and myriad other digital, broadcast and print sources," he wrote, "nothing is too inconsequential to be made consequential. Political junkies, political operatives and political reporters consume most of this dross, and in this accelerated, 24/7 news cycle, a day feels like a week, with the afternoon's agreed-upon media narrative getting turned on its head by the evening's debate. Candidates rise, fall, and rise again, all choreographed to the rat-a-tat background noise of endless minutiae."

Of course, as Calderone notes, there's a "real disconnect" between the media, which are obsessed with the urgency of social-media-driven news, and the American people, who are actually "more concerned about the struggling economy and their livelihoods." Or, as Dan Balz of the Washington Post put it to Calderone, "you feel you're in this circular conversation with people who are slightly disconnected with the real America." And that's because the concerns of struggling Americans aren't likely to be a trending topic.
Ms. Huffington describes a society in need of forgetfulness and filtering, a society which needs a way to separate the wheat from the chaff.
I do not mean to imply we all need some weed or a drink, although mind-altering substances have had a history in our society of over-use and abuse as well as proscription and punition. We do need some sort of Habit of prioritizing important things, an ability which seems to always escape us.

Without forgetting a sin, there can be no forgiveness: a world without forgiveness is a world obsessed by hate and despair.
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ps.
There is a segment of CBS Sunday Morning Show on the lack of morphine in the Third World to relieve the pain of those dying from cancer and other diseases. 95% of the world's morphine is consumed in the USA. Heroin is another matter.
However, here again we see fruits of creation: the poppy and its chemistry, abused on such a scale that everyone suffers: addicts, taxpayers paying for a war on drugs that does not work, poor people suffering!

Forgetting is part of Life, so forgetting pain must be  also.
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2 comments:

Baysage said...

Unfortunately, it's very difficult for me to forget things like the fact you just gave me. The US uses 95% of the world's morphine! Really? and people in the world are suffering shortages because of it? It really is unconscionable, ya know?

Montag said...

I suppose it's part of our War on Drugs.

Future historians are going to find it difficult to make sense out of the things we do.