One of the interesting aspects of the digital revolution is that it has made it possible to record an entire life from start to finish. That is to say, it has ‘solved’ the ‘problem’ of the ‘unreliability’ of memory. You may be convinced that your wore blue to your sister’s wedding last year, but when you examine photographs and video of the event you realise that you wore red instead. This externalisation of memory is a reflection of the artificial cortex that has been draped over the planet. We are recorded or tracked (visually or by other means) pretty much everywhere we go. Very often it is ourselves performing the recording and tracking. There is no longer any ‘doubt’ about who did what to whom and when. If we are in doubt then we need only refer back to various storage mediums: where was I on the 23rd of last month? How much did I spend? Where did I go in my car? Most of this information is accessible to us with the push of a button.
The ‘unreliability’ of memory is another theme that keeps repeating itself over and over again, most notably in films such as Memento, Bladerunner and Dark City. The question these films raise is this: has the externalisation of memory really solved the ‘problem’ of memory? When everything is taking place in our heads so to speak, can we really be certain that these ‘faithful’ and ‘verbatim’ recordings of life events are as ‘faithful’ and ‘verbatim’ as they appear to be? If your memory (together with any external recording of that memory) were altered then how would you know it had been altered? How can you really know who and what you are if your knowledge of who and what you are is based on a memory of who and what you are?
What if I could ‘inject’ a memory into you without you even knowing it?
In my last post I included the below clip from Bladerunner. In Crack in the Wall, I pointed out that Fisher was my grandmother’s maiden name. She married a Harris, and so Harris is my mother’s maiden name and I am the son of a Harris.
Here, we see Harrison sitting at his ‘keyboard’ looking at ‘photographs’ and trying to work out who he and those around him actually are. It’s a perfect reflection of my own journey. He drifts off into a ‘reverie’ (a ‘memory’ and a ‘rivery’ and a ‘feathery’) that features a unicorn, and at the film’s end we see him pick up an origami unicorn left as a clue. Thus we learn the truth about his ‘memories’ and, by implication, who and what Harrison really is. He is, in effect, an organic machine and his ‘memories’ were programmed by someone else.
photograph 1839, “picture obtained by photography,” coined by Sir John Herschel from photo- + -graph “instrument for recording; something written.”
In recent posts I’ve referred to COBOL and my personal belief that language is a symbolic code just as programming languages are symbolic codes. That in using language we are programming ourselves and others to see what we see and literally making ‘it’ up as we go along, like a movie.
The lowest level data item in a COBOL layout is a field, also called an elementary item. Several fields can be associated to form a group. All the fields together form a record. A COBOL layout is comprised of a line for each field or group. A COBOL field definition gives the level (discussed later), field name, and a “picture”, or PIC clause, which tells you the data type or data category of the field, and its size.
I often wonder what it means to look at a picture or edit a picture or go to the pictures. COBOL uses different types of pictures: some are ‘edited pictures’ used for display purposes. For example, you cannot perform a calculation using a PICTURE that defines an edited variable.
Modiface mobile application is the best. They have hundreds of hairstyles in different categories, short, medium and long. You can choose what color you may desire. Modiface celebrity hairstyle, edit your picture now!
Choose what COBOL you desire. Ever seen a ‘moving picture’? In COBOL, the MOVE verb transfers data from one area of storage to one or more other areas.
What we call ‘language’ operates at two different levels: our conscious understanding of what a particular sentence or paragraph actually means, and our unconscious understanding of the ‘code’ embedded within it. A simple example is the way newspaper headlines often use the word ‘exposed’ when the last letter of the preceding (literally pre-seeding, being ‘primed’) word is an ‘s’.
With the above in mind, I wasn’t surprised when the ‘unicorn’ reference in the Bladerunner clip ‘triggered’ a memory about the earliest form of written language, known as ‘cuneiform’.
Cuneiform script, one of the earliest systems of writing, was invented by the Sumerians (Assyrians). It is distinguished by its wedge-shaped marks on clay tablets, made by means of a blunt reed for a stylus. The name cuneiform itself simply means “wedge shaped“. Emerging in Sumer in the late fourth millennium BC (the Uruk IV period), cuneiform writing began as a system of pictograms.
I was going to use the above image as a link to Dead or Alive’s ‘You Spin Me Round’, but when I started to view the video this advert appeared. It’s for Reed Employment…
If you read my last post then, like me, you might be wondering whether cuneiform is ‘wedge shaped’ or ‘egg shaped’. This retrieves a theme from one of my recent posts.
The mainstream media is broken. The New York Times, trying to put Humpty Dumpty together again, has tried to recreate the old media environment, but has only succeeded in making it the content of the new media environment. Citing Humpty Dumpty, McLuhan noted that all the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t recreate the old environment, they could only create a new one. Any time a new medium of communication becomes dominant, its time to make an omelet.
The key phrase is “…only succeeded in making it the content of the new media environment”. But what is ‘it’? See the Bladerunner clip: ‘it’ is a ‘memory’ and a ‘reverie’ and a ‘rivery’ and a ‘feathery’. This in turn retrieves yet another theme from a recent post: The Oracle. But is the message ‘stay on the leading edge’ or ‘stay on the breaking eggs’? It’s yet another message about our hidden environment, the invisible water we’re swimming in.
The Oracle’s Maze. Would he have broken it if she hadn’t primed him to break it? Is this foresight or programming?
The Oracle Bone Script, a.k.a. the Shell and Bone Script.
The term “oracle bone” was first coined by the American missionary Frank H. Chalfant (1862–1914) in his 1906 book Early Chinese Writing, and was borrowed into Chinese as “jiǎgǔ” in the 1930s. Because turtle shells as well as bones were used, the oracle bone script is also sometimes called shell and bone script. As the majority of oracle bones bearing writing date to the late Shang dynasty, oracle bone script essentially refers to a Shang script.
Earlier, I picked up a book I bought in the US. The Seagull Has Landed.
This is what I read:
“Your whole body, from wingtip to wingtip,” Jonathan would say, other times, “is nothing more than your thought itself in a form you can see. Break the chains of your thought, and you break the chains of your body, too…
Cade thinks the US is a prison…nothing personal Cade… 😉
It was always a prison to me. A place where some rich asshole was gonna work me to death until I actually died.
But does he think that because he thinks that? Or because I ‘primed’ him with this?
The world’s oldest undeciphered writing system, which has so far defied attempts to uncover its 5,000-year-old secrets, could be about to be decoded by Oxford University academics. This international research project is already casting light on a lost bronze age middle eastern society where enslaved workers lived on rations close to the starvation level. “I think we are finally on the point of making a breakthrough,” says Jacob Dahl, fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford and director of the Ancient World Research Cluster.
This is the top story in my local paper. A girl recently moved into flat number 3 of the block I live in. Her surname is Featherstone.
Is it ‘drugs’ or ‘droogs’? Back in 1994, someone told me I had a ‘bit of an issue’…
Nazi killer or killer of Nazis?
These days, an artist is as likely to use one of these…
…as one of these…
Seek and you will find. Move to a particular position in a file then specify the number of bytes of data you wish to retrieve. The process of seeking to a particular point in a file is the essence of random access and, in effect, is what your media player does when you click the ‘timeline’ and jump to a particular ‘time’ in a music or video file. As someone well accustomed to dealing with the police told me many, many years ago: “You don’t know what the score is.” Today, I think I do.
If linear time does not exist then by definition all our memories (our ‘information’) already exist in the imaginary ‘out there’ ready for retrieval. Another way of saying this is that the ‘whole story’ of who we are and why we’re here exists ‘out there’ but has been fragmented and scattered all over the place. A bit like Humpty Dumpty. This is analogous to the process of a digital storage medium, which stores data in many individual clusters rather than contiguous blocks. We just have to ‘seek’ and retrieve it. We just need to learn how to ‘program’ and put the pieces back together.
What is ‘it’? It’s a code.
Stealing ‘the’ from the gods…
Let there bee light!
Message from The Program. Whaddaya think?