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Control of the memory, an issue for today
by Hilarie Roseman
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Control of the Memory: an issue today

Memory holds God. St. Augustine says "For I have found nothing about you that I have not held in memory since I first learned about you." This does not ring true today. Research shows that teelevision entertainment lives on in the memories of Australian Catholics, and so fills to capacity their minds, that Jesus memories are fading. George Orwell's vision of modern life in his book "1984" is alive today as Television entertainment. It was found, when intervieewing Catholics in Melbourne, Australia, that "Soap" TV entertainment memories are used as "Big Brother"teachings on how to be a father. "Drama" TV entertainemtn memories are used to debate the women's issues of equality with men. "Comedy" memories are used to show that Freud was right - we all have repressed human sexuality needs, and its all right to let it all out..whatever age you are. The characters in TV enterainment, their narratives and their point of view were all remembered vividly by the respondents in this communication research. They did not, however, hold many memories of Jesus.

A collective memory is now discernable which is formed by global media access, and whoever controls this memory, controls the world. The mass media is a collective organism, a collective nervous system outside of our body. In 1991 Catholic receivers of mass media were asked to inform us of their mass media access, especially the access of messages on human sexuality. Receivers' minds, Midgley says, are conceputal maps, systmes of cultural thought, and they showed a compelling change in mind about human sexuality, and a subsequent lack of informtion about Jesus Christ. In the understanding of Katz, contemporary culture, a mass media culture, presents a collective memory of shamantic events to our mind. The respsondents chose to access and take into their memory new information on human sexuality from the mass media, and chose not to take into memory messages on human sexuality from the Catholic Church.

The mind/memory of a person enables consciousness. Access of, and action from, human sexuality messages drawn from mass media give new experiences to put down in memory, and it is through memory, in the opinion of Davies, that we achieve a sense of personal identity. Mass media induce cognitive change as spoken of by Schramm, and the respondents recorded a change in belief, a confusion of identity. McLuhan told us that "man's nature was being very rapidly translated into information systems." We have to understand that we have become a discarnate people. "It is not the message that travels at electronic speed..(but)the sender is sent, minus a body." HOw do we cope with being a discarnate people? Few respondents in this research carried out in 1991 believed in anybody at all when they talked about human sexuality. I have come to understand that "belief" in a system of religious thought, or belief in anyone at all, is slowly eroded by the mass media. They are overlaid with group memories thought up by "Big Brothers" that are unseen motivators behind the screeen or paper. As envisaged by George Orwell, their memories become our memories. We come to love them. "Freedom is slavery". It is useless to be exiled from the loving breast of the mass media - everything is all right - as a community we can cease to struggle - we will all love the mass media as the giver of what we need to know now. Jesus is not in these messages. "Who can number in how many trifling and contemptible ways does our curiosity dailty tempt and often stumble us? When our heart becomes the receptacle of such things, and carries piles of this abounding uselessness, our prayers are often interrupted and distracted, and while, before your face, we direct the heart's voice to your ears, such vast concern is cuff off by the inrushing of nameless trivial thoughts." If we listen to these words of St. Augustine, maybe our prayers will become more focused, and Jesus will hear them. Our mind, instead of being one with the media, will become one with God.


Orwell, G. "Nineteen Eighty Four" 1949 in "The Penguin Complete Novels of George Orwell," Middlesex, England: Penguin Books

Davies, P., "God and the New Physics" 1990, Harmondsworth, UK:Penguin Books

Dayan, D., Katz, E., "Media Events, the live broadcasting of history" 1991, Cambridge, Massachussets,London, England: Harvard Univeristy Press

Goodwin, Y., Chu Y., Alfian C., and Schramm W., "The social impact of satellite televison in rural Indonesia" 1991, Singapore: Asian mass communication research and informatin centre.

McLuhan, M & Powers, B. (1989) "The Global Village, transforaiton in world life and media in the 21st century," New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Roseman, H. (1991) "Catholic Access of Mass Media Messages on Human sexuality" MA Communication Research, RMIT, Melbourne

St. Augustine (1983) "The confessions of St. Augustine, a fresh translation with an introudction by E.M. Blaiklock, London, Sydney, Auckland: Hodder and Stoughton

Written by Hilarie Roseman (copyright)30 Metung Road, Metung, Victoria, 3904, Australia, 30th October, 2006. email yarrayarra@net-tech.com.au_

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Member Comments
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Phyllis Inniss  22 Feb 2008
Thanks for this very profound message about human memory and the disadvantages it encounters through the media. People go about blindly not giving thought about how the media is having an impact on their minds or on their children. I hope many more persons would read your article.


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