Saturday, April 16, 2011

Horcruxes, and Laptops-a reflection

It’s taking me too long to finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last book of the Potter Series. When I was younger, I could finish a thousand-page novel in one single sitting.  Now I could barely read a hundred pages without my concentration being distracted.

Anyway, Harry Potter is busy looking of You-Know-Who’s horcruxes and this takes him to many adventures. (The name is tabooed and I don’t want death eaters appearing in our neighborhood because they might get beaten up by the neighborhood drunks that congregate by our gate). What interests me in the story is the concept of horcruxes. Horcuxes are magical materials where You-Know-Who has hidden fragments of his soul in order to attain immortality. So, in order to stop You-Know-Who Harry has to find and destroy these magical objects.

This has got me thinking about souls and laptops. The soul is a person. It is not the physical body for that is what we call a body. It is not the body and consciousness alone, for then we could call that an individual. We could then call the whole of our being, our existence, our memory, experiences, the whole gamut of our physical existence and also our subjectivity and inter-subjectivity and interaction with the inner and outer aspect of existence as the soul-breath of life inspired into a physical body. (Whew) I do not agree (I think the Bible is with me) that our soul is an evanescent-material or presence that leaves the body as we die. Or, I tend to take this more leniently, the soul is energy. Maybe it is,  If the soul is energy, then there is a  grain of truth in reincarnation, that is, it is in harmony the law of the conservation and transformation of energy: all of us are part of the never ending transformation and conservation of energy into matter and matter into energy, our existence and energy being transferred and transformed into organic and inorganic materials existing in an interrelated environment. Matter is energy and energy is matter. 

Somehow, it is not wrong to think that my consciousness may be experienced by another human being or an animal in the future since I am an energy transferred and transformed. And also, it is not wholly wrong to think of God and all of us as part of one whole-the Hindu Atman. There is truth in everything for we could only grasp parts. Anyway…

As Harry Potter destroys the horcruxes one by one, You-Know-Who is partly aware that a part of him is dying. Pieces of him are being killed and he is doing everything to stop it.

  I was watching foreign news on TV a lady being interviewed was crying because her laptop was stolen. “My whole life is in that laptop. Everything is in there.” So, the news organization helped in the search for her laptop; they set-up traps by leaving a transmitter equipped laptop on a table while a hidden camera watched if anyone would take the computer. The laptop was stolen and traced. Although, the lady’s laptop was not recovered, the show, showed the need for more security features for future laptops or any other mobile computers. But most important is that the incident showed how dangerous it is to put everything, informations and memories in an external mobile memory device/s.

It is amazing how a simple electronic device like laptops and mobile phones contains so much of an individual’s life that its loss could be so devastating that I could only liken it to You-Know-Who losing one of his horcruxes. A memory device, like a laptop, could contain a lifetime memory. It could contain pictures from birth to the most important events in the life of its owner that its lost could mean the lost of a part of  memories of his/her life. It could also contain important information like bank accounts, bank statements, deeds, and other documents; diaries, researches; in fact someone’s whole life may be encapsulated in such devices. Imagine a graduate student with all his/her research in a laptop and it gets stolen. 

Memory is an integral part of the soul. Even Biblically speaking, Jesus describes heaven as a place where residents knew each other; they have relationship based on prior acquaintances here on earth. Also, memory provides us with the foundation from our experiences from which we could process another experience to a higher experience and its assimilation and application to our existence. We cannot do anything without memory. According to Bergson, there is no consciousness without memory.

It is established that with the invention of writing, man’s (or humanity’s) capacity for memorization also declined because an external device has been invented to encode information and the need to store information in the head was lessened by cataloguing them in a list, and, even later in books. That is why in the earlier times, when few people could read, books are treated with reverence and awe, even sometimes they are attributed with mystical and magical properties. Of course today, we all know that they contain information and if they are imbued with revelations, the book itself and its contents have no power unless translated into belief and the belief transformed into a living faith by the reader.

As the need for information grew, also the need for storage devices grew. More and more memories are kept outside the head. Now our external memory device could store almost anything, even our genetic make up. It is now possible to think of Noah’s ark the size of coin.

 External memory storage devices are slowly containing not just information, somehow, I think; it is also starting to capsulate parts of our soul.

 This getting nowhere...I better eat my brunch..gutom lang.


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