Cultural Amnesia: America's Future and the Crisis of Memory
Sixty percent of adult Americans don't know the name of the president who ordered the dropping of the first atomic bomb, 42% of college seniors can't place the Civil War in the right half-century, and 24% think Columbus discovered America in the 1500s. Meanwhile, more American teenagers can name the Three Stooges than the three branches of the federal government.
Applying the metaphor of Alzheimer's disease to our national state of mind, Bertman offers a chilling prognosis for our country's future unless radical steps for recovery are taken. He offers psychological insights into the nature of memory with perspectives on the meaning and future of democracy. With compelling evidence, the book demonstrates that cultural amnesia, like Alzheimer's disease, is an insidiously progressive and debilitating illness that is eating away at America's soul. Rather than superficially blaming memory loss on a failed educational system, Bertman looks beyond the classroom to the larger social forces that conspire to alienate Americans from their past: a materialistic creed that celebrates transience and disposability, and an electronic faith that worships the present to the exclusion of all other dimensions of time.
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CONTENTS Acknowledgments ix Prologue The Land of the Lotus - eaters 1
Chapter 1 Cultural Amnesia 5 Chapter 2 Memory and Personal Identity 19
Chapter 3 Memory and Civilization 31 Chapter 4 The Power of Oblivion 45
Chapter 5 Why ...
And if certain pieces do not fit , a political regime or even a whole people can
dispense with them altogether , choosing sweet oblivion over the pain of
remembrance . As we will see in the next chapter , drinking from the waters of
Lethe can , in ...
CHAPTER 2 : MEMORY AND PERSONAL IDENTITY 1. In this and in later
sections of this chapter I am especially indebted to these recent works on
memory and the brain : Alan Baddeley , Your Memory : A User's Guide ( London :
Prion , 1996 ) ...
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Prologue The Land of the Lotuseaters
Memory and Personal Identity
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