In the future, some say we can upload our brains and clone our cells. So, presumably, it won’t be long until immortality in a single body will be more feasible than ever before in history. I wonder if an immortal is made of space and time, cells and molecules, breath and heart beats? When these are past, what makes a person who they are in the afterlife? Are memories living things? Where do they live and who feeds them?
I began to record and edit stories with a video camera to preserve living memories of my father some years after my mother died. For “the real time movie” production, this memory history project of mine converged with the I.C.E. (in camera editing) experiments of my husband, Allan Lundell. AKA DrFuture, he prides himself on being a geek who loves all things future, such as audio and video recording tools, AI (artificial intelligence) AR (augmented reality) VR (virtual reality) XR (experiential immersive story worlds) robotics, cloning, nano medical strategies, and anything weird that might fit under the category of future evolution. We manage a business which turns our stories into movies, radio shows, and treasured memories which we are leaving in the form of digital records for the future.
Our longevity practice includes copying forward our recordings of old forgotten experiences that become new memories. That, and long loving familiar hugs every morning and night. As we hold each other close every night, we enter the liminal spaces of the dreamtime. Our bodies remain embracing as our breathing slows, and as each of our consciousness wanders away to far more fluid realities.
Is a person contained in their body, a particular face with a heart and a brain, a unique torso that’s walking around after the accident of life? I wonder what makes a person who they are. Nature & Nurture? Experience and beliefs? Myth & Magic, or Science and Ceremony? Philosophers advise us to “Know Thyself.” It is not clear if this divine Self exists as a part of an immortal soul or as the temporary guardian of one ephemeral mortal body. I find the story of MEE to be an emerging identity that rests on a lifetime of beliefs which I add daily to a collection of subconscious memories and imagined dreams.
As an early digital ancestor with no living biobabies, I may not survive long in the memory of my “7 generations” genetic lineage. Instead, I offer those who love and remember me this emerging story of MEE. I offer as much authenticity as the moment will allow to deliver this state of the art, mythic family history. The story arc is from the center out, woven in traditional print and short form videos from my personal myths, memories and family stories. That is my gift to future Kin.
Where do memories live? Are my ancestors alive because I dream at night of their spirits, and I want to know their stories? Can I consult my DNA in deep introspection to find continuity in the stories of their many lives? The dream memories I find are not crisp and clear, nor easy, nor alive. They are secret and forgotten. They are scary and sad and confusing. I don’t know if these lucid others are imprints of past lives or fears from my nightmares. Humbly, in good faith, I ask my parents, angels, and other personal guardians for a guiding light through the silence of the many lost years. I research, imagine, and write for the sake of clarity and art.
The sites I visit on this journey into my own family tree explore locations where familiar strangers lived and died. Although there is much to say about my Grandparents, in reality, I do not know them well enough to share their stories. They died or became incommunicative before I could talk, ask questions, or hear their stories. I leave their living memories in the care of our living relatives who know their stories by heart.
My tour of the past discovers instead the sooner to be forgotten, more previous ancestors who were never known to me at all except by common DNA. With internet assistance, I become aware of addresses where they lived and worked alongside countrymen and cousins. I scour passenger logs from ships where they travelled to and from distant ports in Italy. I find people without names captured forever in undated photos of our family. Are they relatives? With luck and detective work, a tomb stone displays a name and the date they died. Perhaps the stone is near a matching stone belonging to their spouse or their parents. In just 100 years, lives are reduced to scattered inconclusive clues found in places where they signed their names, or places where tragedies they lived through are published in old newspapers.
Our journey back in time to the era before our grandparents takes us to the city of Chicago. Historically, this time of great progress, with associated upheavals and societal change, occurred during the decades after the Civil War, after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and before the beginning of World War I.
I take us now to 1850, apparently the birth of our Noni’s grandfather. His grave can be found in Chicago near the tower tombstones marked “Familia Matalone.” Our mother’s family began to dwell in America when her great grandfather, Giuseppe Matalone, arrived in America. On his 1896 naturalization papers, signed by his friend Vincent Mangano, he claims that he arrived in the USA in 1880, and has lived continuously in Chicago since then, intending to become a citizen.