WE CAN REMEMBER IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE
MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
About a week ago a listener named Dave Currie sent an envelope that was filled with different pictures of haunted places. Ron was interested in going through them and what he found was an added surprise – a photo of Philip K. Dick.
I have been name-dropping a lot of amazing science fiction authors lately partly because they had visions of the future that seem to be transpiring at an uncanny level of accuracy.
Philip K. Dick really was a prophet, and like all true prophets he often couldn’t figure out what the visions meant.
What was the most fascinating thing about Dick’s works is that they can easily be the foundation for the idea of the open conspiracy and how it operates in front of people who are not yet aware of how things are set up. Phillip K. Dick would include in his stories characters that were always subjected to mind-manipulating media predictive programming and simulacra. It shows that the way society appears to be structured is a complete fabrication and that media manipulation conceals the real centers of power or hides what I like to call the cryptocracy.
Philip K. Dick is arguably the most influential writer of science fiction in the past half-century. Even though the sum total of his career was relatively short, he wrote 121 short stories and 45 novels.
While he was a popular author and philosopher while he was alive most people know about his work today many years after he died in 1982. Most people know about many of the movies that have been based on Phillip’s short stories, for example, The movie “Blade Runner” is based on “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, The movie “Total Recall, that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and was rebooted in the year 2012 was based on Dick’s short story written in 1966 called “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.”
In the book and the film, Total Recall, humanity’s advancements include memory implantation techniques that are used for entertainment purposes. Memory implantation goes beyond virtual reality in this case.
The main character, Douglas Quail, wants a mental memory of being an agent on Mars and so a company called Rekal provides him with the memory that he lives through in a more advanced simulacra that he has artificially experienced.
It is called “extra factual memory.”
The novel also calls the process of implanting memories “vicarious surrogate retrospection.”
Our brains create the world in which we live, both from direct perception and from our memories. One of the most important capacities that we have is the ability to distinguish memories of events that actually happened, as opposed to other thoughts and feelings.
When you read Philip K. Dick’s story you begin to wonder if your life up to this moment is exactly what you remember it to be.
When we think about our memories we already know that there is always that vagueness, that there are omissions and ellipses-and, of course, there is always that idea of the Mandela Effect where you realize that you do not share the same memory as your friends or your colleagues.
When one thinks about the Mandela Effect, there is this idea that maybe some outside agent has somehow erased a timeline or that you are somehow part of some superposition plot where you have one foot in the real world and one in the memory of a totally different world that you have lived in and with it comes a memory that you are convinced you shared with others.
You then become confused when you realize that no one else has had the same experience or remembers the same moments in time.
It is a matter of perception and consciousness and whether or not reality is always a word that should be used with quotes.
The fact is that it’s highly unlikely that an adult can recall genuine episodic memories from the first year of life, in part because the hippocampus, which plays a key role in the creation of memories, has not matured enough to form and store long-lasting memories that can be retrieved in adulthood.
How and where memory is stored in the brain network is one of the fundamental questions in the brain and cognitive sciences.
The act of remembering or recall is a subjective mental experience. To provide context for the concept of remembering, it can be contrasted with forgetting and with forms of memory that do not involve the subjective sense of remembering.
It is believed that you forget things for many reasons: poor encoding; the inability to consolidate or to keep memories accessible through mental programming rehearsal; or the absence of appropriate cues for remembering something.
Although there is relatively little of the totality of our experience that we can deliberately remember, this does not mean that all our “forgotten” experiences have no impact on us. They remain with us buried in the unconscious mind and at times forgotten memories can be triggered by things in your immediate environment.
Sometimes people are triggered by smells, songs, or scenes in movies, words in conversations, even arriving at a location that you remember when you were a child.
For me, the song Night Moves by Bob Seger always triggers a craving for Canadian bacon Pizza. The reason why is because, when I was a teenager, I used to meet my girlfriend at Pizza Hut for lunch. I would always order a mini Canadian bacon and black olive pizza with a root beer. She would always play Night Moves on the jukebox.
Sometimes when I hear the song on the radio, I vividly smell the pizza in the oven and I have at times grabbed myself a root beer if I am on the road and I pull into a convenience store.
This exemplifies the power of a good memory and of course, there are always bad memories that can be triggered. Some are traumatizing. Being in radio music always triggers memories of something.
The song, D.O.A. by Blood Rock always triggers bad memories for me. The song itself is terrifying enough. Bill Frost, a Rock and Entertainment writer once wrote a piece about my show and how one night during a blinding snowstorm he was stuck in his car listening to Ground Zero. That night, he said that it was one of my darker shows and recalls that I played the song D.O.A. by Blood Rock.
The song is about an airplane crash victim that is describing what it is like to die slowly.
The song is eerie and Frost recalls that just before the song played on Ground Zero he heard a news report just minutes before the song aired that a small plane carrying some Salt Lake businessmen crashed in the snowstorm.
It crashed only blocks away from the radio station.
To this day, the song haunts me because of that incident.
We all have memories that triggered by trauma or some unfortunate turn of events.
There are many memories we wish we could hang on to and there are others that we want to forget and now science is found a way to even create memories of events that never happened.
We learn from our personal interaction with the world, and our memories of those experiences help guide our behaviors. Experience and memory are inexorably linked, or at least they seemed to be before a recent report on the formation of completely artificial memories. Using laboratory animals, investigators reverse-engineered a specific natural memory by mapping the brain circuits underlying its formation. They then “trained” another animal by stimulating brain cells in the pattern of natural memory. Doing so created an artificial memory that was retained and recalled in a manner indistinguishable from a natural one.
Memories are essential to the sense of identity that emerges from the narrative of personal experience. This study is remarkable because it demonstrates that by manipulating specific circuits in the brain, memories can be separated from that narrative and formed in the complete absence of real experience. The work shows that brain circuits that normally respond to specific experiences can be artificially stimulated and linked together in an artificial memory. That memory can be elicited by the appropriate sensory cues in the real environment.
The research provides some fundamental understanding of how memories are formed in the brain and are part of a burgeoning science of memory manipulation that includes the transfer, prosthetic enhancement, and erasure of memory. These efforts could have a tremendous impact on a wide range of individuals, from those struggling with memory impairments to those enduring traumatic memories, and they also have broad social and ethical implications.
What if the government could change people’s moral beliefs or stop political dissent through remote control of people’s brains?
DARPA has in fact been working on such a project.
The program, conducted by The Center for Strategic Communication, is based at Arizona State University. The DARPA funding for this project can be confirmed on the ASU website.
The head of the project, Steve Corman, has worked extensively in the area of strategic communication as it applies to terrorism and “extremism” – or what could be called “the war of ideas.”
Corman’s latest project, Narrating the Exit from Afghanistan, and his many presentations make it quite obvious that the mission is to shape the narrative and literally change people’s minds.
The dissenters of yesterday could easily become the terrorist sympathizers and supporters of political violence tomorrow.
This DARPA research brings about many ethical questions and dilemmas. Mainly, this research aims to literally induce or disrupt the operation of narratives within the brain. In other words, this research aims to stop individuals from thinking certain thoughts and make others believe things they normally would not believe. This research has tremendous interrogation possibilities and could potentially be used to more successfully spread propaganda or stop political upheaval to an unsuspecting public.
The aim of the program is to remotely disrupt political dissent and extremism by employing “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation” (TMS) in tandem with sophisticated propaganda based on this technology. TMS stimulates the temporal lobe of the brain with electromagnetic fields. The program, conducted by The Center for Strategic Communication, is based at Arizona State University. The DARPA funding for this project can be confirmed on the ASU website.
This research is being conducted by The Center for Strategic Communication at ASU and is entitled “Toward Narrative Disruptors and Inductors: Mapping the Narrative Comprehension Network and its Persuasive Effects” A detailed overview of the project can be found in the document below. Highlights include:
In phase 3 of the research, the research group will “selectively alter aspects of narrative structure and brain functions via Transcranial Magnetic Simulation (TMS) to induce or disrupt selected features of narrative processing.”
The research group determines which parts of the brain are associated with cognitive reasoning and narrative comprehension, they will be attempt to impair those sections in order to “create a fundamental basis for understanding how to disrupt or enhance aspects of narrative structure and/or brain functioning to minimize or maximize persuasive effects on subject proclivity to engage in political violence.”
Once it is determined that disruption of certain portions of the brain can enhance persuasive messaging, individuals can be persuaded to do things they normally would not do and believe things they normally would not believe. This could include something as simple as telling a closely guarded secret, to believing in government propaganda or even committing a violent act.
Mechanical disruptions of narrative processing may be, ultimately, replicated in through targeted strategic communication campaigns that approximate the narrative disruptions induced via magnetic stimulation.
If this research succeeds, the government will be able to modify how one personally thinks. They could strap you in a chair, put a machine to your head, turn off parts of your brain, introduce a persuasive message, and make you believe it.
Further, through extensive research, they may be able to replicate the machine’s brain disrupting functioning simply through carefully crafted and researched persuasive messages and propaganda. They can use brain imaging to determine which portions of the brain are activated when a particular message is presented to an individual, and if the “right” portions are activated, they know the message will circumvent one’s mental reasoning and lead to almost automatic acceptance.
With enough data, the government could spread propaganda through the media that people will almost automatically believe, whether it is true or not.
In terms of interrogation possibilities, Transcranical Magnetic Stimulation can be forced upon individuals to make them believe certain things, say certain things, and perhaps admit to acts they did not actually commit (as the TMS can induce narrative validity), or commit acts they normally would not commit.
It is so chilling to realize that Philip K. Dick was right about “vicarious surrogate retrospection” or “extra factual memory.”
One of the most profound things that Philip K. Dick had expressed in his writings is that you can’t always count on your interpretation of reality. I actually in a madcap way understand that more so than most.
We really cannot count on a shared reality with others when there are so many people who are now resonating with various forms of what is truly reality and what is fantasy. The line between the two has become fuzzy and not so stable.
The reason why Dick got so much right was that he knew a lot about human nature. He stood for the value of humanity and as he predicted science can now hack your brain and have you remember things at wholesale.