Ashton Radvansky Journal 9

This past week we watched Christopher Nolan’s film, Memento in class. This film is based on the concept of an individual’s memory and how memories can be formulated, shaped, and distorted. This is similar to what I mentioned in my previous journal entry about humans having “selective memory.” The main character in Memento, Leonard, is not able to create new memories since his “incident”, which was when his wife was murdered and his head was slammed against a wall. At the end of the movie, Leonard says that at times he chooses to lie to himself because it easier to do that than to face the reality of his actions. Other characters in the film, such as Natalie and Teddy, take advantage of Leonard’s condition and manipulate him into doing what they want. Through this process, Leonard becomes a murderer, but he chooses to lie to himself and say that he is only avenging the assault and murder of his wife.

     Memento is an extremely difficult film to follow because Christopher Nolan does not present the events in a chronological order. I believe that Nolan is able to hide plot-holes in the film because the viewers are so preoccupied with trying to understand what is going on, that they fail to recognize the reality of certain events occurring. For example, Leonard’s head is slammed against a wall, which causes him to not be able to remember anything more than 10-15 minutes into the past. Even though he cannot remember anything from the accident, he is able to remember the limitations of his memory condition and also that he is on a manhunt for the man that murdered his wife. Memory is a dangerous thing. If we are unable to remember anything that has happened to us, then it is difficult to trust those around us because we would have no prior knowledge of who they are or what their relationship to us is.

Ashton Radvansky Journal #8

In class on Tuesday, Professor Perrone presented a scenario in which an individual must create a physical reminder for himself to make sure that he does his homework. The individual suffers from short term memory loss, so he will not remember if he has homework to turn in or not. Additionally, he does not have a pen or paper to make note of his homework, he only has a bucket and some water. The class was then opened to discussion to think of ways that the individual could use the bucket and water to remind himself that he has homework. Professor Perrone suggested that the individual could draw a line on the inside of the bucket, and he could fill the bucket with water above the line if he had homework, and fill it below the line if he did not have homework. But what if the bucket had a hole in the bottom that caused the water to leak out of the bucket? He would have no idea whether or not he has homework, and his bucket technique would fail him.


This scenario, centered around memory, caused me to think about an episode of Black Mirror that I watched. The episode is titled “The Entire History of You”, and nearly all of the characters in the show have a chip implanted in their heads that enable them to record and replay every single memory from their entire lives. As enticing as this sounds, the chip can become harmful in relationships with others, whether they be amicable or sexual.


In today’s times, a person’s memory is something that they can hold onto and can never be taken from them. Additionally, people have selective memories; they grasp onto their happiest memories, while also try to block out the worst memories from their pasts. Going back to the original scenario presented in class, if the individual had a memory chip implanted in himself, then he would be able to go back and watch what happened in class and see whether or not he was assigned homework. Although this would be helpful for him in this situation, the memory chip would also enable him to review, replay, and relive every single bad memory that he has from his past. All the times his parents yelled at him, all the times he was bullied at school, and all the times he failed athletically or academically. I believe that memories are meant to be cherished, not relived or replayed. I think that people should try to live their lives in the present because we cannot change the past, we can only prepare for the future.

Ashton Radvansky Journal #7

I can genuinely say that I struggled while reading Samuel Delany’s novel, Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand. I mainly struggled to grasp the concepts that Delany was trying to stress in the novel, because I found them difficult to follow and understand. One thing that I did note though, was how advanced Delany’s ideas of society and culture were in the novel. Delany published Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand in 1984, yet his opinions on sexuality and gender pronouns were far more advanced than those that were accepted in the 1980’s. Rather than adhering to social norms and writing a novel with standard male and female characters, Delany chose to depict a multi-gendered universe that was both technologically and sexually advanced from what we know in the present-day. I found this fascinating because Delany presents a more open and free view of social diversity in the novel that did not parallel with what was generally accepted during the time the novel was released. Delany’s thought process aligns more with modern-day thinking of transgendered individuals and intense sexual relationships. Although I struggled at times interpreting and understanding the novel, I was impressed and satisfied to see that Delany was able to depict a universe, thousands of years in the future, that shares some of the same advancements in today’s society, such as rights for all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation.

Ashton Radvansky Journal #6

When I walked into our first class on Tuesday, January 17th, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and I was unsure of the path that this class would take. As we began our discussion on technology, I was immediately thrown off-guard when people began to argue the negative effects of technology in society. I never looked at the argument from the other side, and I never thought about the potential complications that technology has placed on our everyday lives. I thought to myself, “How can technology be a negative, when we think about how we use iPhones in our daily lives, or with the advancements that have been made in medical and surgical uses?”. I maintained this thought process until this past Monday, February 27th.
As I walked to my 12 o’clock class of MATH 192, I had a vibrant attitude because the weather was nice and it was a beautiful day to be outside. As I was looking around and enjoying the scenic views of Bucknell’s campus, I also noticed something quite alarming. Everywhere that I looked, I saw people walking around campus staring at their cell phones; ignoring all forms of communication with their peers, and separating themselves from their present surroundings. Additionally, the first move of people just leaving their classes and walking out of an academic building, was to reach into their pockets and see what alerts they had missed during their 52-minute class period. I was shocked to see that this was everyone’s first action upon getting out of class; it was almost an instinctive reaction for people.
As we watched the first episode of Humans in class this past Tuesday, I thought about what I saw while walking to class on Monday and I began to realize that as technology becomes a larger factor in our lives, we begin to slowly forget about the day-to-day interactions with others that makes us inherently human. Why should we go through the awkwardness of talking to someone about a difficult topic, when instead we could just text them and avoid the interaction all together? We have come to value the latest and greatest iPhone over human friendship, and that is unacceptable. During my grandparents’ childhood, all the kids in the neighborhood would be outside, playing games, and having fun. Now children will stay inside and play video games, most of the time alone and against a computer-generated player. Sure, children are still playing games, but it is completely different because they are missing out on what is necessary for their growth into successful adults: interactions with others. Sometimes it is necessary to take a step back and analyze how exactly our society has been impacted by external forces, and I believe that time is now. People need to truly realize how much time they are spending on their phones and other devices, when they could instead be spending quality time with the people that matter to them most: their family and friends.

Ashton Radvansky Journal #5

After reading Asimov’s Caves of Steel, and discussing it in class, I began to think more about the future roles of robots in society. In the simplest terms, countless robots are already part of our daily lives through machines, computers, and cars. Although we have yet to make the jump from machines to humanoid robots, we are just beginning to see the early stages of development today. For example, the ‘Google Home’ and the ‘Amazon Echo’ have been released into the market within the last year, and they are devices that you can ask questions to and a voice talks back answering your question. This is one of the most recent developments in technology, and one of the main concerns is that Google and Amazon is storing information based on what individuals ask the devices. This is a large fear because it is an invasion of privacy on the owner of the device. I see this fear as a main limitation in the production and development of humanoid robots because I believe that people would be afraid that the device is remembering things about them, storing it as data, and spying on them. Also, there is the issue of gender identity with the robots. What gender would the robots be? What would they look like? Would they have a feminine or a masculine voice? Amazon has addressed the last of these issues by naming their device “Alexa” and giving it a feminine voice. In conclusion, I do not believe that our society is ready for humanoid robots because we have too many issues that we are currently sorting through, and if there was a humanoid robot rebellion I do not think that we would be ready.