Like most clever quotes and the like, it's not totally true and breaks down quickly. But I read that last night, and there's more than an element of truth to it. And it got me thinking, what really makes us, well, us?
Is there some sort of "master cell" or "master cluster" that keeps our personality consistent and holds the memories that make us who we are? Or is it really something more metaphysical than that? That said, even if it were something more spiritual, there should still be some sort of physical area that we happen and persevere in. I wrestled with that thought for a long time before another thought popped into my head.
When I think very hard, I can feel it in my head. I don't think I'm alone in this. It's taught in history class that the Egyptians believed the heart did all the thinking. Did they get chest pains when they concentrated? Do we get headaches because we know too much? It seems to me that it's the same sort of thing that when you cut yourself and don't realize it, it doesn't hurt.* But if you watch the injury happen, you feel the sting. Just how much of pain or feeling is simply awareness? Or, at least, the belief of awareness?
*Assuming, of course, the cut isn't too big or deep.
And this, of course,* got me thinking about classes we took about postmodernism in history. The idea that the very use of language limits our imagination. Why is a napkin called a napkin? Because we decided so. It could have been a balloon if society so chose. Now, I never really felt like I totally understood the whole postmodern history thing, but if I have it at all straight, I think the point is by the language we use we set parameters up in our stories and in our information that may or may not ring true. Either because the expectation of the words have changed** or wasn't entirely accurate in the first place. Why is that helpful? That I don't know, but it's interesting to think about what sort of power words have to our minds, even if unintentional.
*That was sarcastic, in case you missed it.
**A good example would be the word "gay." The Gay Nineties didn't necessarily refer to Oscar Wilde and his ill-advised slander trial.
Below everybody's friend Oscar, we have persistent Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan. That particular picture was taken in 1896. If you go to his Wikipedia page, the "main picture" also looks awfully modern, though I'm unsure of what year it was taken. The placing would seem to suggest it was taken while he was serving as the Secretary of State, so somewhere from 1913 to 1915. Either just over or very nearly a century ago. While casual fashion moves quickly (take a look at a documentary from the 90's and see how dated people look in their everyday life), other trends really take root. It is curious to me how culture moves and evolves, and not necessarily in a teleological fashion.
By the late 1700's, we can start to really see some of modern fashion. Here is George III, who you might remember was the British king during a little conflict call the American Revolution. That particular portrait was painted in 1762. Yes, it is a little fancier than what we see out of Wilde and Bryan, but if you take out the cape, you have an opened coat that matches his breeches (obviously those lowered in the following years), revealing a matching vest. Sounds familiar, right? By the time you get to George V, you still have the cape, but otherwise get a very familiar looking military dress uniform. That portrait is from 1911, 147 years after George III. Or, roughly the difference between Oscar Wilde up there and today.
To try to make a long story short (ha!), there was really nothing good sporting wise on TV last night. None of my teams played, and the Australian Open is still too early to be all that interesting. Purdue plays tonight, though. Boiler up, beat the Hawkeyes!