Thursday, November 5, 2015

Don't worry, we'll take care of your memory ...

From a friendly Facebook message ...

Your Memories on Facebook
John, we care about you and the memories you share here. We thought you'd like to look back on this post from 1 year ago.
1 Year Ago

'Propaganda, Jesuits, and an apparition of the Virgin Mary: A note on the USG's first propaganda tsar, George Creel, Chairman of the Committee on Public Diplomacy (1917-1919):

On his father’s side, Creel’s family was Roman Catholic. Story has it that an apparition of the Holy Mother of God encouraged George’s grandfather, Alexander Herbert Creel, to complete his planned foundation of the town of St. Marys on the West Virginia side of the Ohio River. And it was to a Catholic school, “one of the best … in the West,” St. Xavier’s in Cincinnati, located where Ohio and the Licking River meet, that Alexander sent George’s father Henry. The school was run by Jesuits, an order most active in the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation de Propaganda Fide, established in the 17th century to combat the Counter-Reformation, including what was later known as Germany. In his Rebel at Large, Creel highlights the work of “the great Jesuit missionary and pathfinder,” Father De Smet, who discovered gold in the West but threw it back into the stream where he found it. He feared the metal would attract drunks and adventurers interfering in his conversion efforts.Today, there is a De Smet Jesuit High School High school in Creve Coeur, Missouri, which was founded in 1967. Writing during the Second World War, Creel enthusiastically evoked the mission undertaken by the Jesuits to save souls:

 “When Pope Gregory XV, back in 1622, created the Congregatio de propaganda fide, what he had in mind, and all that he had in mind, was the guidance of those sandaled missionaries who went forth from Rome to preach the gospel in foreign fields. The propagation of the faith! The spread of the Christian doctrine! Just that and nothing else. [my italics] Today, however, propaganda retains no trace of its original meanings and here in the United States particularly has come to stand only for evil, deceit, and corruption.”'
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The Party seeks to control everything – past, present, and future. Another effort towards attaining that goal is to control its constituents’ memory. Without memory, the people cannot know the past. Without memory, the Party is able to control history. By controlling the past, the Party also controls the present – because its constituents will accept everything the Party says. In order to control the collective memory of its constituents, the Party forbids its members to keep written records of their lives, and mandates that any photographs or documents be destroyed through "memory holes" placed throughout Oceania. Since memory is unreliable unless corresponding reality may confirm it, over time, reality becomes fuzzy at best, and Party members are soon willing to believe whatever the Party tells them. Thus, the Party manipulates the past in order to control the present, thanks to our ever-failing memory.
Questions About Memory and the Past
 How ironic is it to name a garbage chute a "memory hole"? Why do you suppose the Party names that, among other things like the Ministry of Truth and the Ministry of Love, so ironically?
How reliable is memory in 1984? Is this normal? In what ways are the characters’ memories affected and altered by what the Party says, by time, and by, well, reality?
Does the Party succeed in altering memory, or not?
Chew on This
Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.  Winston explores his memory in an attempt to reconnect with the past because he believes the past holds the answers to the Party’s rise to power in the present. He therefore agrees with the Party’s theory that to control the past is to control the future.

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