Friday, July 8, 2011

Extrapersonal memories

The night air is cool and refreshing after another simmering day. The sprinklers patter on the sidewalk; a sound reminiscent of rain, seemingly so long ago. A solitary cricket keeps me company tonight, his rhythmic chirping lulls my mind into quiet thought.

I've watched a lot of movies these past few weeks. From classics like Annie Hall and The Blues Brothers, to comedies like Due Date and No Strings Attached. I've smiled at the dry humor of Rushmore, been inspired to try wine-tasting after Sideways, and wrote a letter after the French film Beautiful Lies. There's something exciting about movies, even the slower paced ones; they're a window into someone's mind, someone's life, someone's feelings...someone's eyes.

The ancient Roman historian Livy once wrote that, "the study of history is the best medicine for a sick mind, for in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experiences plainly set out for all to see; and in that record you can find yourself and your country both examples and warnings; fine things to take as models , base things rotten through and through , to avoid." While films are not historical events, I find them similarly fascinating in learning and living vicariously through others, something our society thrives upon.

American pop culture is a testament to the lives we wish we led. Fashion is guided by celebrities' wardrobes, slang is derived from TEEN magazine, cliques are formed by which TV shows we watch (try Bones vs. Family Guy), and Katy Perry describes how summer should feel.

I watch movies and can't help but wonder, 'would I have done that? What would I have said? That's something I could try...', etc. I watch a scene unfold and suddenly I have a new memory. Not a personal memory, this is true, but a theoretical cause and effect have definitely been noted. This leads me to wonder, what are the effects of extrapersonal experiences on a an individual's psyche? How do your observations affect you?

1 comment:

Mary: said...

The experiences that films and books give, especially historical fiction, provide for the best education there is. We are so privileged to have the opportunity to see a visual reenactment of times and events that we can never, and sometimes would never want, to be part of. Films and books give us a richer tapestry from which to live our own lives. - How are you progressing through your IR list?