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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Memory and Identity

One of my favorite movies of the last ten years is Memento starring Guy Pearce. Like a lot of movies that appeal to me, it is kind of depressing. I like movies the same way I like coffee, chocolate, and beer: dark and bitter. But it is very thought-provoking and brilliantly constructed.

The premise of the film is that Guy Pearce has a strange malady where he cannot form any new memories. He knows how to read and drive and so forth, but about every 15 minutes his brain resets. So if he excuses himself during lunch to go to the men's room, he'll completely forget who he was eating with and why by the time he comes back out.

He also happens to be stuck in the middle of a murder mystery. So the only way he can function and pull himself out of his mess is by writing little memos all over his body to remind him who is friend and who is foe. It's really excellent.

Yesterday, I heard President Wenthe make an interesting connection. He mentioned this film and compared it to the situation of many contemporary Christians. He said that people who have no memory, lose their identity.

One of the most important things we can do to resist the Enemy's strategems is to remain knowledgeable of our history as the people of God. It's not just that when we forget the past, we are destined to repeat it, although I think that's true enough. It's that God is unfolding the salvation of His people through space and time. We really do stand on the shoulders of giants. We can see so much farther when we stand firmly on the great fathers and doctors of the faith than when we insist on idolizing the now. Many folks today think that if it's newer, it must be truer. Once upon a time, people looked to the aged for wisdom. Now many think the aged have nothing worthwhile to offer and that the youth have the answers.

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3 comments:

Carl said...

Great insights! BTW, if you want to see another thought-provoking film, get "The Sisters". I believe
it's an accurate picture of the sinful human condition Apart From
faith in Christ. It's rather depressing, but the acting is great, esply Maria Bello. Let me have your review, if you do see it.

Darrell said...

As a fellow fan of Guinness Stout, Hershey's Special Dark, Italian Roast Coffee and dark movies, I very, very enthusiastically recommend that you rush out and rent Requiem For A Dream. In fact, to heck with renting it. Buy it. If you don't consider it ten bucks well spent (and I guarantee that you will) I'll reimburse you through PayPal. This movie is darker than a twelve-year midnight and cuts to the heart of addiction with a razor's edge. I've seen it three times and each time I appreciate it's artistry and message more than the last time... although it is supremely painful to watch. One caveat: Do NOT watch this movie around children... unless you suspect they're at the age where they're getting curious about drugs... then, REQUIRE them to watch it.

Carl said...

Darrell,
YEs, you are absolutely right about Requiem... being supremely painful to watch, but I too think it should be required viewing for anyone who has and is considering gettting into drugs.
BTW, I am also fond of the "dark
things" you mentioned. Does Pinot
Noir qualify for the "club"? It's
my favorite wine. In fact, I think
I will have a glass right now.
Cheers!

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