Interim Report

Wed 11/05/08 at 1:24 pm

Well, my Mother of All Blog Entries (MOABE) remains unfinished, but a few days ago, I experienced a series of events I decided deserves (it’s all connected) a separate post.

Until last Saturday night, my MOABE had remained untouched since September 27, 2008. Instead, I pretty much mainlined World of Warcraft (WOW) through the entire month of October. Finally, I reached what I wanted to call “saity;” i.e., the point of being sated. I conducted a number of searches, but found no such word. I tried a few spelling variations. For instance, an Encarta search for “satity” takes one to the entry for “satori.” (A synchronous occurrence as I am at present intrigued by the proposition that Hamlet can be read as Our Hero’s journey to satori. The rest, after all, is silence.) I finally found the sought-for word, “satiety,” which brings us back on task.

Saturday night I played WOW to satiety, and actually turned my attention to non-WOW things. (A promising development in my addiction process). I wrote a bit in the MOABE, started a new book, and even played a different computer game.

Sunday morning I awoke to a brainstorm. Thoughts flashed like lightening and boomed like thunder. I started to pay attention and realized my brain was channeling stuff related to The First Voice a/k/a My Unfinished Novel. At present, I’m stalled in the middle of Chapter 15 with Johanna explaining the importance of memes to Elfredge. For those who find themselves asking “who’s Johanna,” or “who’s Elfredge,” I leave it to you to peruse my other blog entries for answers to these, and other, questions that may arise while reading this entry. Please note the search feature in the upper right directly below the Walking Raven. I realize I am being a lazy writer, but that’s just the way it is. By way of introduction, I will, however, supply you with Encarta’s definition for “meme” which reads “any characteristic of a culture, e.g. its language, that can be transmitted from one generation to the next in a way analogous to the transmission of genetic information.” Memes can also be images or music. I suppose a meme in its purest form is some sort of mathematical expresses ion.

And with that, here follows a distillation of the thoughts that flooded my brain last Sunday morning as I waited for the leftover coffee to heat in the microwave. Before the Big Bang which many scientists believe marks the beginning of this universe, there existed a singularity. The “spark” that set off the Big Bang caused this singularity’s three visible dimensions to fuse with the fourth, thereby creating spacetime, or what we call real time, which in turn set up the determination we now refer to as the expanding universe. What if, I asked myself on Sunday Morning, before the Big Bang, the singularity was comprised solely of dark energy strings? And what if the universe began because one of the dark energy strings morphed into a meme which turned out to be the first bit of visible energy? In other words, “Let there be light.” Or, if you prefer, “In the beginning was the Word.” I have read it is difficult, if not impossible, to explain light. I have also read no one can really explain the mind, or where or what the mind is.

Understanding “self” is a bit easier. According to Andrew Newberg in his book Why God Won’t Go Away, our brain contains a highly specialized bundle of neurons known as the posterior superior parietal lobe. Newberg renames it the Orientation Association Area (“OAA”). He goes on to explains the OAA actually consists of two areas, “the left orientation area creates the brains spatial sense of self, while the right side creates the physical space in which that self can exist.”

I have a keen sense of my OAA. Ever since I can remember, I have imagined a small Mini-Me that stands before a control panel just behind my forehead. Over my lifetime, this Mini-Me has had various names. These days I refer to her as “Tink,” as in, yes, Tinky Winky, the large purple Teletubbie. I have created an avatar of Tink as one of my WOW characters. As you can see below, she is neither large, nor purple. Rather, she is a Gnome Mage Engineer. (And yes, for you Halo fans, she’s a bit Cortana-esque.)

image001

Also, I confess I started out my WOW career with visions of grandeur. Tink is a few avatars down the character list. The Night Elf Hunter Walkingraven (see below) is my second creation:

image002

In case you are wondering, the cat figure next to him is his pet, Jensen. But enough. Tink is my mind, my consciousness, my self (sic). Tink looks out through my eyes. She looks in with the third, inner, eye.

My OAA is the seat of my imagination where I go to convert memes into thoughts which I can then endeavor to communicate to the rest of the world. If the same meme comes from enough people it becomes a piece of our culture. I’m writing this particular paragraph on Election Day morning, so I offer the following example of meme-travel. Last week, a friend came over, whipped out her wallet, and pointed to a red, white, and blue sticker that read, “I voted.” To me, however, she exclaimed, “Look! I Obamaed!”

I’d like to think this effort to communicate goes somewhat beyond the 100 monkeys’ scenario, but who knows. The survival value of intelligence with respect to evolution remains to be seen. But even if the human race is just a blip on the spacetime continuum, I believe we have a duty to contribute to the memes of the universe.

One way I fulfill this duty is by opening my moonroof and playing CDs of poetry, letting the words waft up into the sky. Each read, written, or spoken word frees a meme. Creative activity creates new memes. Without memes, spacetime will revert back to a dark singularity. At least I think that’s in part what Michael Ende wants to convey in the German fantasy novel The Neverending Story. Those of you who have read this incredible book will recall it begins with the inhabitants of Fantastica (Phantásien in the German version) seeking guidance from the Childlike Empress as to how to stop the Nothing from devouring their world. The Childlike Empress reveals that the only thing that will keep the Nothing at bay is to find a human child who will give her a new name. Naming creates reality in the sense that naming defines an object and calls it forth from the rest of the material soup. As explained by another character in the book, Grograman, the Many Colored Death, “beginning at the moment when you gave [something] its name it has existed forever.” Ultimately, The Neverending Story shows the importance of stories, or perhaps more accurately, imagination, in regard to existence.

Similarly, in the final pages of The Amber Spyglass, volume three of Philip Pullman’s wonderful His Dark Materials trilogy, inhabitants of the multiverse are admonished by Lord Asriel to continue to tell the stories.

As I noted above, the Big Bang marked the beginning of time. It comes as no surprise then that my brainstorm ended with a revelation as to the meaning of that first meme. The English translation reads “Once upon a time . . .”

next post: Once Upon a Time…

1 Comment

  1. I object to Encarta’s definition of meme. To say language is a meme is rather like saying the Internet is an email message. Not hardly. Language is the primary — but not sole – memetic medium. A meme is transmittable thought. peace, mjh

    Comment by mjh — November 5, 2008 #

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