Cultural Amnesia: America's Future and the Crisis of Memory

Capa
Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000 - 176 páginas

According to Bertman, just as an individual needs memories to maintain a sense of personal identity, so does a nation need them in order to survive. Like Alzheimer victims, however, today's Americans are rapidly losing a consciousness of history, and with it, a sense of national identity and direction.

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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Conteúdo

The Land of the Lotuseaters
1
Cultural Amnesia
5
Memory and Personal Identity
19
Memory and Civilization
31
The Power of Oblivion
45
Why America Forgot
65
National Therapy
95
Home Remedies
107
A Nation of Amnesiacs
113
Return to Ithaca
125
Notes
131
Recommended Reading
161
Index
173
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Página 68 - If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus.
Página 53 - For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
Página 57 - For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...
Página 53 - Sing us one of the songs of Zion!" How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither! Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy! Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, "Raze it, raze it! Down to its foundations!
Página 34 - Theuth, the parent or inventor of an art is not always the best judge of the utility or inutility of his own inventions to the users of them. And in this instance...
Página 57 - A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; / A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; / A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; / A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together...
Página 15 - If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
Página 53 - By the rivers of Babylon — there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion.
Página 34 - ... souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves.
Página 105 - English, mathematics, science, history and geography, and every school in America will ensure that all students learn to use their minds well, so that they may be prepared for responsible citizenship, further learning and productive employment in our modern economy.

Sobre o autor (2000)

STEPHEN BERTMAN is Professor of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Canada's University of Windsor. He is the author of Hyperculture: The Human Cost of Speed (Praeger, 1998).

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