The Big Picture

Memory is strange to think about. When I think about what I remember, I start to wonder…is this actually a memory?¬†I often realize that my mind plays tricks on me. I may think I remember something clearly, but soon find out that I actually remember the event because I saw a picture of it. Or I heard a story about it. I felt like I was a part of something, but then I realize that I actually never experienced it.

Bill Viola writes in “Will there be Condominiums in Data Space?” that memory gives us “highlights” of certain times in our lives. We have to fill in the spaces that exist in between those parts. We have to be creative, and practically shape our memory into the way we want it.

This is where I believe media comes in. TV shows, movies, newspapers, YouTube…they all give us that extra information that we need to fill in the gap. We can get online and see images, news stories, and videos instantly. Media makes these things a part of our memory, and we remember vividly since media surrounds our lives.

Take September 11, 2001, for example. I was in fourth grade at the time. I didn’t know what was going on and didn’t understand. I did not indulge myself with videos of the event, but the fact that the media constantly played and replayed ¬†footage from those attacks not only makes me remember the event, but I think it made it real and personal for every single individual who watched the footage. From then on, those events became part of our memory. It was inescapable. Sometimes, and in this example in particular, the fact we are intermingled with media on a constant basis can make people feel like they are reliving the event – causing psychological problems for certain individuals.

I feel like media does not always give us the big picture, which causes our memories to be shaped and sometimes biased. Viola writes about holism, and explains through an example of a jigsaw puzzle how important it is to look at the whole picture. He writes that examining the thing in its entirety can help us think from a different perspective and realize how things fit together. Do you think that media doesn’t allow us to truly understand why things are connected and related? Do you think that videos and TV shows make us want to piece things together instead of seeing the entire image? Could society manage to make a change so that people can see the whole picture?

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One Response to The Big Picture

  1. Jordan Jacobson

    The idea that the media distorts our view of reality has always been a cause for concern for me, especially since I want to be in the marketing field. I wonder if people distrust the media and the sources that they get information from, which can thus affect my career. I definitely think there is a fine line between being bias and using the small details to your advantage without looking a the big picture vs. trying to communicate the specifics of a situation in order to make people aware. I think that Viola’s point of trying to get the big picture is certainly relevant. For example, there are so many voters out there who, though they may not know the specifics of every bill, make an effort to know generally what their candidate stands for. But is this enough? Some people think that each voter should be way more informed and know their candidate’s position on every issue, even if it is not of importance to the voter. So, there are definitely varying views on whether the big picture or the small picture is more relevant. But, yes, I totally agree that the media can use this manipulation of our perspective to better serve their ratings or to peak our interest more. Hopefully, it make people more informed instead of hurting them.

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