Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nothing Lasts Forever

It sometimes feels like once you put something on the Internet, it will last forever. If you've ever tried to delete your embarrassing Facebook photos, I imagine you know what I'm talking about. Once I put something on the Internet, I no longer have to trust the frailties of my own memory, I can immortalize my every thought in the bedrock of our society, as though we were young lovers, simply by publishing a blog post.

However, this is a false confidence, a brittle permanence. Although the electronic memory may seem perfect in a way no human memory ever could be one minute, upon its deletion it is gone in a way no repressed or forgotten memory ever will be. With a click of a mouse a thought, a paper, a profile, even a friendship can be obliterated.

This frailty is not reflected in the real world. A computer stores its memories, each in their place, each separate from the memories stored around it. People, we live our memories, we are our memories. We don't remember things because they are "stored," we remember things because they have become a part of us, and who we are is a part of our memories. Every single thing that I remember is connected to every other, because they are all, in some sense no matter how small, a part of this thing I call myself.

On the other hand, I too am terribly impermanent, so although the memories stored within me may be more flexible and, consequentially, more durable than those in a computer, they too shall be obliterated as time wears on. I would like to thank everyone who participates in this blog for sharing something more than bits and bytes with me, for, in some way, making me who I am.

Nothing lasts forever, except loss.


elfarmy17 said...

It's a balance, I suppose.

(fantastic post, btw)

Frank said...

I remember when our little dog, Carly, died, and I thought, "Boy, would I ever like to have those 12 years back with her," but instantly upon thinking that I had another thought, "What's the point, because we could relive those 12 years and we'd still end up in this very same place, with her dead and me crying." Indeed, loss is the only thing that stay constant, at least in this life. So, Kenny. Dogs in heaven? Specifically, Carly in heaven? What do you think?

Kenny said...

What I think and what I hope are two different things. Fortunately, I have absolutely no control over it, and I am sure that God has worked out a wonderful system, whatever it is. Ultimately that is my answer to a lot of the deep theological questions that have no immediate bearing on our current life. I will still think about them, and come up with theories, but it is a relief to realize that if I end up making an incorrect assumption, it won't really affect anything.

Assuming that animals cannot sin, I do not think we can properly ascribe a soul to them. This is how I interpret the notion of God making us in God's image, that we received free will in some sense that nothing else has. That said, our pets are a part of us, so if we go to Heaven, perhaps, in some sense, they have to as well.