Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Memory and secular modernity

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On the one hand, in modern society, all meaning is sustained by memory - our very selves are nothing more than memories.

Because (secular belief has it) when we die, our memories die with us, and once these brain patterns are destroyed, then that is that.

Modern man is thus, to himself, nothing more than his memories; and his memories make him and sustain him.  When memory dies, the person dies.

On the other hand, modern man dedicated vast effort to obliterating or ignoring these memories, by intoxication and by imposing alternative realities (from the mass media, art etc).

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But is memory true perfect and permanent, or not?

For modern man memory is a labile delusion.

Even freshly made memories are grossly partial and necessarily biased; incomplete and distorted. 

Memories may be partly or wholly false, subject to change and decay, may be invented or deleted or reshaped...

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So modern man is nothing but his memory, yet he understands memory as not just contingent and temporary - but fundamentally unreliable.

In sum, memory is conceptualized as being unrelated to reality.

So modern man sees himself as living only on the basis of delusion.

And life for secular modernity is without meaning or purpose and all relation between the person and the rest of the world (if it even exists) is illusory...

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This is why all coherent metaphysics must be rooted in timeless, unchanging eternity.

And also why there must be some kind of bridge or intermediate zone between the eternal and timeless perspective, and our experienced world of movement, joy, corruption and death.

And yet this intermediate connection will never make full and explicit sense to us - because in our minds the gulf between such utterly dissimilar worlds - the world of permanence and the world of change - is qualitative, utter, unbridgeable.

Thus the ultimate impossibility of philosophy.

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