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Posts tagged "Memory"

From the Archives: God Is Not The Archives

From the Archives: God Is Not The Archives

A throwback from Adam Morton. 

One great benefit of regularly preaching and teaching from the Bible in exchange for money, aside from the money itself (fine, not spectacular), is that it forces me into confrontation with portions of scripture that would otherwise escape notice. My spiritual discipline is inadequate to compel this in any other way. Take that under advisement as you read. By the call of God I have a certain limited authority, and by sheer divine grace expressed through good genes I have fair powers of recall–nevertheless, my knowledge of chapter and verse would not impress anyone who has long made…

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Another Week Ends: Dunham’s Addiction, Snapchat Freedom, War Vet Atonement, Toastimonies, Careerist Personality and... EVERYTHING

Another Week Ends: Dunham’s Addiction, Snapchat Freedom, War Vet Atonement, Toastimonies, Careerist Personality and… EVERYTHING

Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an interview with Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg.

1. I’ll just make a note of this, and then I’ll direct you to the Podcast above for more in depth (and hilarious) commentary, but it should also be read in tandem with DZ’s post from earlier this week about the state of “manliness” and male identity today. Lena Dunham, in the New York Daily News, made a comment about challenging herself to leave her “Sorry” addiction. As a woman, she found it had become a default form of communication—apologizing for things…

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Giving Up the Ghost Dance

Giving Up the Ghost Dance

This Advent I’m going Southern and weird for my daily devotional. I’ll be standing in this season of anticipation and light with a copy of Rodger Lyle Brown’s Ghost Dancing on the Cracker Circuit placed firmly in my hand.

In the early 1990’s Brown traveled the southeastern United States visiting Mayberry Days, hillbilly festivals, and street parades that celebrate Hernando De Soto. You know, “fun” stuff for southern white folks. He documents a people trying desperately to hang onto their past:

I’d been to a Rattlesnake Roundup, Swine Time, the North Carolina Tobacco Festival of Clarkton, Inc., and now the International Banana…

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From the Archives: Getting What You Want By Revising What You Had

From the Archives: Getting What You Want By Revising What You Had

Have you ever reminisced with a friend or family member about an event, only to find that you have two contradictory recollections? It can be harmless – e.g. what color shirt someone was wearing on our 10th birthday – or it can be painful – you were clearly mother’s favorite child vs. No, you were.

These things don’t have to be in the distant past. I attended a church service a few years ago in which a preacher spoke, regretfully, about refusing to marry an inter-religious couple early in his ministry. The couple also happened to be an interracial one. He…

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David Carr Took Good Cards and Set Them on Fire

David Carr Took Good Cards and Set Them on Fire

A remarkable passage from the opening to the late David Carr’s unbelievably good memoir of addiction, The Night of the Gun, in which he lays out the difficulty of investigating and recapitulating one’s past. Reminded me of Tavris and Aaronson’s description of memory as editor, i.e. one of the chief instruments of self-justification. Turns out the stories we tell about ourselves, especially the harrowing ones, reveal the narratives we have constructed around our identities–AKA the laws to which we are beholden and which drive our editing/dishonesty, such as Thou Shalt Be Transformed (and Stay That Way). Also one of the…

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Aphex Twin's Syro and the Joy of Forgetting (and Remembering)

Aphex Twin’s Syro and the Joy of Forgetting (and Remembering)

Enigmatic and revered electronic artist Aphex Twin (real name Richard D. James) released his long awaited new album, Syro, last week, ending a 13-year hiatus that followed his previous album, Drukqs. The new album is–in true Aphex Twin form–a colossally dense and impeccably composed piece of electronic music that morphs, warps, and toils considerably for its 65 minute run time. This tends to make for a somewhat unsettling listen in places (given the harsh and, in some cases, terrifying sounds he exuded during much of his 90s output, it’s not unexpected). As soon as you get your footing on a…

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Another Week Ends: Robots, Children, Busybodies, Grocery Store Flowcharts, Self-Hating Memories, Money-Burning Radio, Noah Dissent and Eight-Year-Old Guitar

Another Week Ends: Robots, Children, Busybodies, Grocery Store Flowcharts, Self-Hating Memories, Money-Burning Radio, Noah Dissent and Eight-Year-Old Guitar

 A quick update: we had some trouble with the Kindle version of The Mockingbird Devotional, but it’s now available here. It’s been tested with Kindle Fire and should work for older Kindles, too – Paperwhite compatibility is a little dubious (if there are problems, let us know so we can gripe to Amazon) – and it should work for iPad/iPhone and Android, too. 

1. The robots are coming: it’s a major upheaval we’ll see in the next few years, and one that’s flown relatively under the radar. So many avenues for exploring how we’ll relate to them, how they’ll change things – surrogate…

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In Search of Lost Enchantment: Religious Reflections on Swann's Way

In Search of Lost Enchantment: Religious Reflections on Swann’s Way

How do we remember things? At a fundamental level, sensory impressions from the past remain in our minds, as mental images we call forth, things from the past that we re-experience. Recollection often involves distortion – “I certainly never said that, at least not in that tone of voice” – as well as a re-connection with something concrete, objective, outside of us. Memories create our personality as things which inhere always in the mind, latent but present; yet they can also recreate us, redefine us. In Christian terms, we could say that all things are remembered or contemplated by God,…

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Criminal Memory and the Myth of "Getting Away With It"

Criminal Memory and the Myth of “Getting Away With It”

In the suburb where I grew up, I can still picture the house of a younger friend in the cul-de-sac, the split-floor entry, the metal banisters, the dirty carpet. I even especially remember the parent’s bedroom, and the mirror on the door, and I remember it because this is where their kid and I would take turns saying cuss words. We’d stand in the empty house, fourth grade or so, and try out the ones we knew—which, to no surprise, was most of them—watching our faces in the mirror as we said them. It’s funny to think about that now,…

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You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory (Esp a False One)

You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory (Esp a False One)

Another worthy addendum to our series on self-justification, and the role that memory plays, from Wired, “How Friends Ruin Memory: The Social Conformity Effect.” Where Tavris and Aronson chalk false memories primarily up to internal factors – the reducing of cognitive dissonance and reinforcing of our pre-existing self-image – the article highlights a few recent experiments that suggest that we revise our memories to appease social pressures. I see no reason why we can’t embrace both as motivators. That is, while the internal stuff may ultimately provide the foothold, clearly the Law takes external forms as well, from stone tablets…

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Does the Sun Shine on a Spotless Mind?

Does the Sun Shine on a Spotless Mind?

Do you remember the excellent 2004 film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind“? Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet star as a couple whose relationship has fallen on hard times. In order to deal with the pain, they decide to erase one another from their memories. How you ask? You’ll have to go watch it:) Suffice it to say, the incredible fiction of memory “editing” portrayed in that film looks like it may not be too far from becoming a reality.

Earlier this week The NY Times ran an article about neuroscientists at NYC’s own SUNY Downstate Medical Center who appear to…

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