"To not cower at apparently insurmountable odds calls for courage, and the need to “hang together” and advance creative action is crucial for human life."
-"Personal Memento Mori: The Iconic 9/11 Footage and the Threat of Death"
'Any item, whether word, image, artifact, or what-have-you, that makes a difference to somebody as it runs into other items (words, images, etc.) means we have a sign. The chains and networks of all these signs that form as they bump into each other are semiotic systems.
It is also possible to conceptualize the system of signs as not only synchronic and diachronic but also as a "fluid" "surface" that may ebb and flow, jump, appear and disappear, and absorb "closed systems" defined by linear patterning and non-relative schemas. One may conceive of an infinite "play" of signs, with [any particular] prominent sign [one may choose] within that "play" or semiotic "game" space.'
-XJ, pp. 110, 117, adapted
'It is said that thinking and reading and writing and talking about living is no substitute for living, except that thinking and reading and writing and talking are already life.
These marks on this page/screen are not "not natural". Both these pecks on the page/screen and the pecks on the bird's nest (outside my window) are natural, where "natural" is a totalizing term for all that is, positively speaking, and which comes to us humans and individuals as most obvious in the most powerful "other" that humans deal with, which are the physical elements, external and internal.'
-Memento Vivere project rough notes, 12 Oct 2020, adapted
'These are notes and observations from memetica: los estados unidos de memetica.'
-Memetica Ecologica project notes, 25 Sept 2020
'There are obvious lessons to be learned in regard to [the rhetoric of transformation] from religious history and theory in terms of the rhetoric of conversion, which was not infrequently coupled with physical and psychological force, torture, systematic persecution, killing, or some combination of these, including genocide.
Here, however, [this project is] employing the idea more in the sense of William James (1902/1929) of an individual experience [or personal affective transformation], even when there are also social consequences.'
-DD, p. 23
'The scope of signs in human culture is vast.... Diachronically, signs may be identified as originating at least by the time we have the first human-made cultural objects possibly 200,000+ years ago. Synchronically, signs are manifold across the globe, including what one has on one's shelf and what appears in one's dreams.'
XJ, p. 110
'Indeed, it is a strange-disposèd time. / But men may construe things after their fashion, / Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.'
-Julius Caesar, 1.3.33-35
'Living systems are made of the same chemical elements that make up the rest of the universe, running according to physical principles that extend also into the inanimate realm.'
'The hard part of the mind-body problem is explaining that last side of our mental lives, explaining in biological, physical, or [computational] terms how felt experience can exist in the world.'
-P. Godfrey-Smith, Metazoa, pp. 11, 13
'What's a desirable life look like for you (you plural and you individual)? That's a quality question. Some talk about a good life, a meaningful life, a purposeful life, a you-name-the-desirable-quality life: happy, productive, useful, enjoyable, honorable, faithful, beautiful, you-name-it.'
-Memento Vivere project notes, 4 Oct 2020
'I understand the "transformative" in a number of ways, including the less dramatic. As I use it, a "transformation" may be not only profound but also momentary and temporary.
On the one hand, it could occur as a dramatic change with effects for a lifetime. One the other hand, it could occur for the duration of a performance, within a defined encounter, or a portion thereof.
In regard to memento mori items [items that bring about awareness of mortality and human life], including texts, objects, and performances, the transformative experience could take place on the spot or, alternatively, at a later time, through memory.
The performance/art/work/event is recalled, and the individual's organization of reality and meaningful narratives are reconfigured temporarily or for longer duration, in some cases becoming permanent, but not necessarily. I want to maintain the value of "temporary" and "momentary" because even these become permanent in memory, history, and empirical fact.
[Along with dramatic transformation,] I emphasize these humbler senses of transformation....'
-DD, p. 23, adapted
'...our house is our corner of the world. ...it is our first universe, a real cosmos....'
-G. Bachelard, Poetics of Space, p. 3
'"Memetica ecologica" is a way of describing where we live now. By where, I don't mean America or China or any particular place, although it includes places. By "where we live" I mean a composite of the material and social worlds along with the "world" of our minds, individually and collectively.'
-Memetica Ecologica project notes, 4 Oct 2020, adapted
'...the scope of human systems from an individual's perspective is massive. Historically, one may look to human origins at what has thought to be approximately 200,000 years ago in East Africa, around what is now Ethiopia (although now researchers are also looking toward Morocco at the 300,000+ year mark [Hublin et al. 2017; Richter et al. 2017]). One may run through the long history of hunter-gatherer societies to the rise of agriculture and large state societies such as at Monte Alban in Oaxaca, Mexico, or at Chaco Canyon in what is now New Mexico. One may carry this history forward to the rise of modern science, transnational economies, and the "information age." Today (or at any point in history) one may also span the globe to take in the full scope of human systems, from what today is Canada and then to Mali, to Bangladesh, and back again. Or to anyplace you might search on Google Earth. We live in an era of the "glocal": a mash-up of the powerful reach of globalization with the idiosyncratic particularities of each of our localities.'
-XJ, pp. 110-111
'Human thinking is such that it transcends the present and [consciously relates to] the absent; the absent, what is not there, is given to us as such.'
-R. Sokolowski, Phenom., p. 217
'What gives us life? And what takes it away? Those are most basic questions for how anyone would live.
-Memento Vivere project notes, 4 Oct 2020
'one can distinguish different kinds and degrees of transformation...and also highlight the limitations of the rhetoric of transformation, which include...the exploitation of transformation rhetoric for the sake of power-plays.
Still...we know powerfully motivating, constructive transformation takes places and often is deliberately constructed to do so.'
-DD, p. 22
'...while grand narratives of human history typically ascribe change to dramatic catalysts, change happens every day as people accept or question, consciously or unconsciously, the meaning of existing social relations.... Daily life does not just acquiesce to the changes thrust upon it but has a truly transformative potential.'
-C. Robin, 'Archaeology of Everyday Life', p. 375
'In any verbal scenario, as Naour (2009) points out, affirmative 'words can substitute for the actual [physical, body-to-body] contact comfort such as mother to child. In short order, in such scenarios words become powerful as secondary reinforcers to condition new behavior or to sustain formerly acquired behavior.' (10) This behavior can include new and sustained use of [a particular] phrase by individuals within [particular language-using] groups.'
-XJ, p. 96
'Memetica is the Big Drama we're all acting within, against, or alongside now.'
-Memetica Ecological project notes, 26 Sept 2020
'It is everyday life which measures and embodies the changes which take place "somewhere else", in the "higher realms".'
-H. Lefebvre, in The Everyday (Johnstone, ed.), p. 32
Benjamin Bennett-Carpenter teaches at a public university in North America and consults/coaches at Sollars & Associates and independently.