What does a bar in Boston look like inside? Can you tell me?
Most people have an idea of what it looks like. Cheers has been off the air for twenty years, but it ran long enough to for most people to have seen an episode or two–either when new or in reruns. Bars in Boston look like the picture above, right?
I’ve been to a few bars in Boston — for real. Some of them look like the set of Cheers. Most don’t. Even the real Cheers (yes, there is really a bar in Boston called “Cheers”) only bears a passing resemblance to the images we have in mind. The thing is, from the minute I first stepped foot in a real bar in the real Boston, I was comparing it to what I had seen on TV. They are all either like the set of Cheers or not like the set of Cheers.
Now, when bar owners in Boston decide on remodelling choices, they have to decide whether to make the place look more like the set of Cheers or less like Cheers. Cheers is the authoritative model honored even in reactions against it. Everything is graded on a Cheers scale.
Because everyone knows what the inside of a bar in Boston looks like. It looks like the set of Cheers.
So now we’re on the verge of being able to directly implant and modify memories in people’s minds. I think most of us agree this technology would never be abused or implemented for questionable purposes. Right? Amirite? But short of fears that we are simply digitizing lobotomies in a way that will make control of populations even more easy than it is now, some of the concerns are misplaced. We’ve been implanting and modifying memories for long time already.
In his 1978 book Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, former Madison Avenue adman Jerry Mander included a list of raw images observed from human life–things most people can imagine very easily. They ran from women chatting in a kitchen during a party to homosexuals having an argument and everything in between. At the end of the list he asked the reader to identify which of those images had come from experience of real life, and which had just been seen on TV. In my case, almost all were from TV, despite having basically stopped regularly watching TV one night in 1983. I gathered from the book that I wasn’t alone. Not by a long shot.
When we remember what something “looks like” most of us are still pulling up images placed there electronically through a medium financed by companies trying to sell us toilet paper, soup, and beer. They are implanted memories. They have formed our consciousness already.
We’ve been living off of implanted memories for a long, long time.
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