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UFOs: Cultural memory and “real” memory

Friday, October 21, 2016 9:23
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The Times Literary Supplement [TLS] for October 7th2016 has a review, by W.V. Harris, of these books: Memory in Ancient Rome and Early Christianity [Oxford University Press] and Cultural Memories in the Roman Empire [Paul Getty Museum], both edited by Karl Galinsky, the latter book with Kenneth Lapatin.
While I won’t be addressing the Rome and Christianity subject matter, I will point to material in the review that can be applied to the topic of UFOs and UFO events.
Reviewer Harris notes that “Fables about memory feats were … quite common in the ancient world..” [Page 28]
Harris then tells readers that in Plato’s Phaedrus, “Socrates” felt that writing (down events) denigrated memory because writing gives literate peoples an aid that supplants remembering. (Julius Caesar apparently agreed.)
Scholar John Kloppenborg, writing about the alleged sayings of Jesus in The New Testament, thought those sayings were compromised in their transmission, Kloppenborg elaborating in his essay for Memory in Ancient Rome and Early Christianity.
Reviewer Harris also references Maurice Halbwach’s concept of “collective memory” from 1925 (which derives from Durkheim).
How does this discourse apply to UFO events, Roswell for one?
UFO buff CDA has raised the issue of lost or non-Roswell accounts prior to Stan Friedman’s 1978 broaching the matter after a conversation with Jess Marcel Sr.
And this is an important issue.
Where are the diary accounts of what was going on in Roswell in 1947 if the supposed retrieval of a crashed flying disk (with alien bodies) actually took place.
Diary writing was a popular past-time of U.S. citizens in the time-frame, but there seems to be no real diary entries from the July 1947 period.
(Of course, there have been “faked diary entries created after 1978, but no valid entries found for and in 1947 diaries created by Roswell citizens.)
Then there is the absence of photographs, aside from the Ramey PR effort and dismissal of the debris allegedly found by Mac Brazel.
Brownie cameras were all the rage in the 1940s (and earlier) right through the 1960s and later.
Everyone had a Kodak camera and took photos with them to “remember” where they were and what they were doing. (CDA also has mentioned this several times during his blog commentaries at Roswell postings.)
But no one thought to take photos of the alleged military men in town, accompanying Brazel or cavorting with other citizens? (Not even the local print press?)
And no one who had access to the supposed Brazel debris, including Jesse Marcel Sr. (or Jr.) thought to take a photo of the stuff?
(Remember that Farmer Trent had the good sense, if his story is true, to go into his house and grab his camera to capture the iconic McMinnville flying saucer. And this only a few years after the Roswell incident.)
The Romans (and Greeks) created historical references (Herodotus, Thucydides. Livy, Tacitus, et al.) or provided plays (by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Andronicus,  Plautus, et al.) or scuptures (Praxiteles, Lysippos) to recall (remember) significant events.
What does Roswell have? The Roswell Museum, a post 1978 construct.
Harris reminds readers that Kant wrote “recalling the past (remembering) occurs only with the intention of making it possible to foresee the future.” [ibid]
I don’t get Kant’s point (and rarely understand him) but his insight applies to the Roswell memories: Roswellians ,while deficient in capturing or remembering what really happened in 1947, has made it a point to project the mythologized incident into an ongoing and future inspired (ET incursion) possibility, that some UFO buffs (Friedman, Rudiak, and many others) have been and are attracted to, even as illusionary or delusional as it may be.
Ancient memory was encapsulated in various ways, beyond just mental memory (that Socrates extolled) thank goodness.
And that memory has become a collective or cultural memory abetted by the artifacts created to remember it.
UFO events, like Roswell, have not been treated so intelligently.

Artifacts from the events themselves not preserved or captured, leaving only a contrived memory, many years afterwards — memories that are conflated by fraud or hoaxing and the normal vicissitudes of neurological decay.

If only Roswellians or other participants in significant UFO events kept a record of their experience(s), we’d have no trouble identifying what was historical and what wasn’t.
RR – The UFO Iconoclast(s)


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