People choose to remember what is important to them personally. But it’s more than that. They choose to remember that which has been presented to them powerfully. The dance of presentation imprints itself on the mind’s eye.
Think of something like natural gas. Natural gas is like electricity: it is an important concept that is fuzzy in the minds of many people. Meanwhile oil/gasoline is easy to grasp. There is the filling station, there is the pump, let’s pull up to it.
I’ve often thought that if there’s ever a global catastrophe and all knowledge is lost, we’ll forget there ever was such a thing as electricity. Every bit of power that once went into our homes and our factories will go into the nebulous ether of the ideasphere . . .
What is the ether? It is the dead zone where ideas go to die. Once there was a fragrant tree that grew in the Middle East. After the last one was chopped down, memory of its wonders was soon shuffled off to one side, like a soccer ball crossing the sidelines and being declared “out.” The dodo bird is still remembered, unlike the fragrant tree, because some few important writers declared that an important metaphor for species extinction.
Our writers and our television shows have a great deal to do with what matters will be thrust in the face of the viewer/reader. They are the ones with the creative power to choose. You could argue the fall of the Christian Church in the West is partly due to it hardly ever being presented in an entertaining way that gathers the attention of others. I can hardly remember reading a novel where the characters involved went to a church as part of character-building or just plain plotline development or exposition.
The Church becomes boring. Its themes — wells, donkeys, mangers — seem foreign, making the task of bringing up its values that much harder. There was once a television show where the veggies talked and they were Christian. This was a lame attempt at resuscitating interest in a dying breed.
Electricity is far more important than going to church on Sunday. Two weeks without electricity should show us exactly the importance of it.
But how often is it mentioned? Not that often, dammit. Ditto natural gas. What is needed is a series of classes in school — multi-year — about Our Vital Reality. Included in the OVR class would be information on financial matters, info on electricity, info on how political power is gained and lost in the modern world and more. OVR would become the most interesting course there is because it has a real world impact.
The final exam would be worth 80% of the mark. How to teach OVR would be offered at the university level for prospective teachers harboring a growing interest in readying our students for the challenges, traps, and gains-locales of their future lives. Passing OVR would make one “future-ready.”