Memory Can Be Funny

Memory is a tricky thing for humans to grasp. It is such a natural element of our consciousness, yet is such an incredible phenomena. It both helps us develop our skills through trial and error, and helps us connect with others through shared experiences and events. Memories can be vivid, or hazy. They can be misremembered, or developed over time with additional information. Studies have shown that witnesses can very easily have their memories altered by false information if certain false-memories are planted in their minds or presented in group settings. If a group of witnesses hear another witness mention a read coat that the victim was wearing, then all of the sudden most of the other witnesses brains may start to construct a red coat on to the victim, whether that is how they saw it or not. Memory can be funny like this. But also, misremembering can get you in trouble.

I have been doing Stand Up Comedy for two and a half years now. It is one of my absolute favorite things to do and has been an obsession of mine since probably my junior or senior year of high school. Right off the bat when I arrived and Fordham and went to the club fair, I discovered that there was actually a stand up team. Instantly I knew I had to join so I visited their table to get all the information about auditions that I could. Since my obsession began I had always been keeping small notes of possible stand up sets that I would think of and keep them in a notebook dedicated solely to the topic. I wrote some new material for my first audition, was excited about it, nervously auditioned, and was turned down by the team. What I didn’t realize was how competitive the team would be. Not only did I not get on with my below average set, but even more measured acts did not get on as the team’s standard was one that demanded intense amounts of creativity, personality, and originality in every sense.

I became increasingly obsessed with making this team, writing down new ideas all the time. I auditioned again the following year with a much more polished set, but was still turned away. I wasn’t until January of my sophomore year that I made the team. Being on the team means we had to be performing 5-10 minutes of original material at each of our monthly shows, all with audiences with high expectations. I was super excited, but also nervous about the idea of underperforming. At this point I must have been watching stand up all the time and writing new material from my own experiences or observations just as much. I would take pleasure in completing a notebook and then archiving it, filling out the dates of the starting and finishing page, and always going back to reference old material when I needed to write a new set. In the spring of 2018, a little bit over a year into the whole gig, I went on stage and told a joke that lasted only a few sentences that I had believed to be mine. It was only afterwards that the team captain pulled me aside and told me that I had just told a joke that belonged to a famous comedian. I was shocked and doubted it, but he was able to find a video of the comedian using the joke as a promotion on a late night show. Not only was it the same joke, but I had said it essentially word-for-word with similar pauses and emphasis. If I didn’t steal it, then it was a complete glitch in the mainframe. I don’t doubt that I saw this video in the past, but what was so troubling to me was that I could have that joke living in my mind as a memory long after I was even capable of remembering I had seen the video even as it played before my eyes.

I talked about this occurrence with some other team members, and we came to the conclusion that this sort of incident must happen all the time. Stand up is such a high pressure environment that stand up performers are always itching for new and successful material. A lot of work goes into a joke, so naturally one would become rather mad to see another comedian just take the joke from their hands and perform it as their own. Feuds like this are sparked in the comedy community all the time, and most of the problems lie in that the comedian who “stole” the joke will never own up to it. The explanation, which I read in a “Variety” article one time, is that, most likely, these jokes are not being intentionally stolen, but rather misremembered as original. A successful joke is such a unique and lasting work that it is very believable that the memory of joke itself could outlast the memory of someone else performing it. And for someone who is constantly in the mind frame of trying to come up with jokes, it would be very believable to them that a joke in their head that is a lasting memory without a source would be a joke of their own.

Memory can be an odd thing. The amount of weight we put on something can greatly impact the priority our mind places on whether or not to renew a certain memory. In a class discussion we had on memory this year, the theory that memories are constantly and unsparingly fleeting was brought up. This would mean that any lasting memories are not copies of the original events, but rather a memory of the most recent memory you had of those events. To conceptualize this I picture a fist picking up the same patch of sand over and over again. Sand is seeping out around all the fingers, and each grab is a renewing of memories— trying to grasp on to the same grains each time. Of course, it’s impossible to grab on to the same grains time after time, but with enough concentration, you could get pretty close. The mind will inevitably misremember or drop off some key portions of a memory, but if one exercises the act of remembering enough, most of what happened can be retained for a long time.

So, when I was remembering the stand up set, I was more willing to remember the joke itself than I was to remember the performance. Not knowing the root of the joke hurt my originality, but also made me become more cautious with my own memory and with examining my ideas. While I was worried that my reputation might get hurt, it seemed as though I didn’t have to worry— most of the audience either didn’t know or didn’t remember the joke either. For this I have poor memory to thank.

Adaptation and Time

Time keeping can be a tricky thing in film. As a film major, one of the first things you asses about a film is the narrative time in which it takes place, keeping track mostly of the points where is speeds up, and absorbing the material that is exposed when it slows down. A lot of times character-driven films will start off quickly, maybe covering several hours worth of character actions in a few minutes in order to quickly acclimate the viewer with the protagonist. Then, in the moments before and during the main inciting event, time will slow down so we can watch the drama of the situation unfold. Whether you are aware of it or not, time in films is incredibly important. A filmmaker must allow for the viewers mind to subconsciously account for missing time in an effort to not disorient the world of the film, and to allow for the pacing of events unfold how they desire them to, and how it would be comfortable to watch.

Time goes further than editing too, timing is kept in mind all throughout the directing process as well. Directors are constantly thinking about how certain movements, acting choices, and shots will represent passing time, or affect the viewers interpretation of time. Also, when directing or acting, knowing when your character is in the script and how their relation to other characters or events are related impact their decisions greatly— essentially the entire basis of acting and directing. Timing means everything in a story. It’s what grounds us as viewers, it’s also what disturbs us or brings us in. When films are kept in time we are more comfortable as it is a pacing that we recognize as our own. When a film speeds up we are either excited or disoriented. When a film slows down we are intrigued or confused. When events happen out of order we are upset, when the laws of time keeping are not followed by the director, the film becomes representative of a certain message or ideal other than narrative. Conventional timing is used to build trust between the filmmaker and the audience. Breaking this trust results in a bothersome crowd. Whether or not it was your intention, as a filmmaker, to bother people will strongly impact your favor of the results. All this is to say is it is imperative to consider time in filmmaking— the most important factor, in my own opinion. So, what does this mean for storytelling across other platforms? Well it means that there is a right and a wrong answer when communicating time, and I took an entire course on how its done. Here are some snippets of what I learned in my semester studying adaptation.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, most popular television series or films are not completely original. Many of these are adaptations of previous works. Adaptations are different from remakes because remaking a book as a film would be a horrific viewing experience. It is important to translate the two mediums. When translating, the vibe/style and story stay the same, but the pacing and time are altered. This is why JR Tolkien spends pages upon pages describing the textures and cultures of the Hobbits and their native land, whereas the Lord of the Rings film series can achieve this explanation with a single shot, and develop it further as the film progresses. Books do not have this luxury as many of the sensory detectors that films get are not present in the reading experience. A reader needs to have their environment and character deeply explained so their reading experience is not one of someone wandering a dark room with spots of light. The reader needs the whole room.

In my final paper for my adaptation class I related the art of adaptation to that of translation. When my language professors would warn the class to not use google translate, I always thought they were just trying to prevent us from using a very useful tool because it was essentially cheating myself from learning the language. Later, as my skills developed, I realized that speaking another language is much more than a 1:1 transfer of words or phrases. Translating a language is much more of an interpretation than it is a translation. In order to say a phrase or communicate a message you heard in one language in another, you must have a very deep understanding of what it means to the ear of a native speaker, and you must know more than the words that successfully translate it, but also the feeling and pacing behind the words that you are choosing to represent the message. In film, it comes down to that. If you are taking a page of comic book frames and moving them to film, you might begin to realize that just because a new frame has begun does not mean a new scene has begun. A filmmaker must take the comic book and completely absorb it for what it is before moving forward and beginning the task of interpreting (adapting)it into film. If you begin translating a english sentence into Spanish one word at a time, you will find yourself restarting the transliteration after almost every word. Timing is sensitive in adaptation, and one must carefully consider the choices they are making when adapting any book, comic book, poem, play, or anything else into a film.

When Lin-Manuel Miranda was working on Hamilton, a fellow playwright gave him advice in a point of writers block adapting Ron Chernow’s book “Alexander Hamilton” into the 2.5 hour musical. He told him to remember to just write the parts that are a musical; there is no need to write the whole story. Miranda references this as a turning point in his writing process. Chernow’s book is a thick historical biography, and ultimately too dense to be considered a piece of pop-culture. Miranda took this comprehensive writing to learn a fuller story about Alexander Hamilton and was able to take the twists and turns of his life and the surrounding story of the American Revolution into the most successful Broadway play of all time. Chernow even joked that he felt legitimately embarrassed when he heard the opening lines to the play, which ask the question, “How does a bastard, orphan son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence, impoverished, in squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?” Saying that that one sentence essentially summarized the thesis for his book which he outlined over the course of a lengthy first chapter. Miranda knows how important the information Chernow laid out was, but he also knows that a musical audience will understand the gist and would just like to get to the action. Both are successful and both audiences will leave knowing the same story. All that is different is the time it will take to communicate the two, and that is the power of adaptation.

Atomic Clock Helps With Another Major Scientific Achievement

A number of weeks back I made the semi-reckless decision of choosing the Atomic Clock as my “time keeping device” for the class research paper. I say semi-reckless because I really did not know much about clock other than the concept of it— I didn’t even know the name. I just knew that there was a singular clock that was deemed “the standard” time keeping device, and I believed it to have a central location. Knowing this little about the clock made researching it so complex, but also so much more rewarding. Now, with my knew knowledge of the Atomic Clock, I feel as though I see and hear about it in so many casual ways. It’s not exactly like everyone is chatting about it, but I heard the reference in pop-culture as I picked up on a drummer being nicknamed “The Atomic Clock”, and I heard it mentioned even on 60 Minutes an investigating they were doing on radio waves used in warfare. It is truly astonishing how much atomic clocks are used, and to what extent.

My hyper awareness to these clocks, with which I have spent so much time, lead to me noticing their use in NASA’s capturing of the first ever photographic evidence of a black hole. This was a particularly excited usage to see because I was already so amped up about the photo before I realized that the Atomic Clock played an integral role. I remember just seeing the announcement and the photo all over twitter, and as a personal fan of scientific theories and with a fascination of how they did it, especially considering I had no idea it was even possible, I immediately starting looking up videos to give me an explanation. In my journey I found this video to be particularly helpful in giving both a basic understanding of black holes, as well as diving deeper into more advanced description, all without being overbearing: https://youtu.be/qpYcCI9uzKo.

If you don’t want to watch the video, then I’ll break it down very quickly. What a black hole looked like was always just theoretical, or based on other data collected that would reference the result of light entering areas of such a high gravitational pull. Why they are called “black holes” and why they are such a phenomena is quite obvious: they are areas of mass with such a high gravitational pull that no light can “escape” or otherwise be reflected or projected. This means that you cannot take a picture of black hole because you cannot take a picture of something unless you are able to get some sort of exposure on the object (photography 101). So the nature of black holes, the fact that the nearest black holes to us are incredibly far away, and the fact that there are no singular telescopes on Earth that are large or powerful enough to be able to take such a photo have lead to us never having grabbed that long desired snap of a black hole. 

RESUME HERE:   I continue to be amazed by the Atomic Clock, and several times throughout the process or watching this video I really did have to laugh to myself as to how blown away I am by what is both such a extremely simple, yet complex device. But really, its function is so simple, but the things it could be used for seem to be endless. The video only briefly mentioned the atomic clock, and another listener who had not just done a research project may have missed its mention, but I can attest that without the atomic clock, this photo would not be possible. Let’s dive in to what the video left out.

First is that just implementing the atomic clocks in the satellites is not enough, they surely had to wait for an atomic clock precise enough to get as synched up as they were. As recently as November 2018, a new and even more precise atomic clock was introduced. This new clock measured the oscillations of the element ytterbium. Once an atomic clock’s time keeping abilities are able to measure faster oscillations at a more consistent basis, older elements that were being measured can be replaced with faster moving ones, therefore making “the second” that is being counted a more finely tuned one that can be trusted and created better harmony between multiple devices all using the same atomic clocks.

This type of harmony between multiple devices in order to use their connectivity to make a more powerful “unit” or “network” is nothing new in the field of the atomic clock. The very same technique is used in satellites orbiting, and on, Earth in order to make for better cell phone service. The technology is also in use in all senses of GPS navigation. Boats crossing, planes landing, cars navigating, all of these actions are made better and smoother by the use of atomic clock powered networks of devices, allowing services and updates to be accurate and in real time. This use of GPS networks and cellular networks were easier for me to grasp than the network of photos, however. That is until I realized that these scientists used the size of the Earth in relation to the size of the black hole to their advantage.

The black hole in the photo is 6.5 billion times larger than our sun. A black hole of that size certainly makes it easier to get a photo, but a high powered satellite or system of image captures was still required. Being that the earth is so small in comparison, it would be very easy to use this network to make it as if the entire planet were its own camera. It’s a cop-out example, but think about how the Death Star works in Star Wars, or how a stadium light is made up of a collection of lights. This is just a theoretical representation of how the cameras worked since theirs was more likely a consistent collection of data depending on the rotational position of the earth, but in theory it is quite like how the death star would make one large streaming laser out of several that would convene at a singular point. This is just exercising the simple physical law that multiple energies convening will make for a greater energy.

Of course the satellites coming together is much more complicated. It was as if two or more satellites collecting data would tap out another. All this is to say that this became a highly coordinated event. A photo capturing series that relied on exposure that would take place over months. When working in harmony like this, the most important facet has to be the timing. You could have the best scientists in the world with the most powerful equipment, but when comes down to it, if these systems are not in time with one another, then there is no result. The Atomic Clock proves itself again, and thanks to this ever-evolving system of time keeping, science makes another breakthrough achievement.

Eons

Everyone has heard the metaphors that relate the time the earth has existed to some sort of easy visual totem. If all of history were a twenty foot rope the time humans have spent on Earth would be one frayed fiber at the end of it… yada yada yada, blah blah blah. They’re interesting images, don’t get me wrong. But they don’t really make the time any more comprehensible. I mean how can anyone imagine billions of years. I can’t even imagine a billion dollars. Recently I listened to a podcast that had an archaeologist on it. He was fascinating. He proposed a theory in a book of his; advanced human civilizations existed before the ice age. One of the examples he gave in support was a bracelet found recently, created by a proto-human species called Denisovans. The bracelet itself was unremarkable, a typical band. But what was interesting was that a hole in the bracelet (presumably to hang a charm on) was made by a high speed, fixed drill. At first I thought this meant a power drill and I kind of lost my shit. That would be insane. The truth is less exciting than that but it’s still fascinating.

This bracelet was dated before the ice age. It would be literally hundreds of thousands of years before human species would start building advanced tools. Of course they had hand axes and fire and things of that nature, but they weren’t complex tools. A stable drill that can move quickly. That’s advanced. But if it were pre-ice age that would totally reframe everything that we think about early human development. It would destroy the kind of linear understanding most people have about human history. Humans progress and then regress, technologically, socially, biologically. But most people don’t think about that.

For hundreds of thousands of years, small bands of humans would explore the world around them. For hundreds of thousands of years! Now we’ve gone from horse and buggies and kites to sports cars and jumbo jets in only a hundred years. How will human history progress? Will we continue to grow exponentially in both population and technology. It seems impossible. Steven Hawking said that the next hundred years would determine the fate of the human race. How can that compare to hundreds of thousands of years?

I guess I really didn’t have much of a point I was trying to get across with this. It was more of a meditation on the incomprehensibility of time and history. I’ll try and update the post with the podcast when I find it. Although I am a bit embarrassed to admit it was a Joe Rogan podcast. If you’re more interested in the Denisovans, a simple google search brings up some really interesting results.

Narrative Time and Stakes

I’ve been thinking about stories much more than usual this semester. I attribute that to my screenwriting class. This whole semester I’ve had to work through one story and write the first act in a screenplay, roughly 30 pages (not standard pages, screenplay pages are much shorter). But, to write the first 30 pages you have to have a good idea of what you’ll do for the next 60. One of the first things you really have to figure out before writing is how much time you want your story to take place in. Now every movie is different, they have different structures, stories, and stakes. But, one of the best screenwriting books I’ve read has a “rule”: when at all possible, have the narrative action take place over a day.

Now at first, this sounds incredibly restricting. How are you supposed to tell a full story over the course of 24 narrative hours? But that’s not really the point of the rule. Like any rule about writing, it is purely a guideline, by no means a commandment. What this rule really means to me, and how it has helped me, is to think of it like this; a day is arbitrary, most often stories are told over the course of much more time than just a day. But what distinguishes a good from a bad story, is how much time is wasted. Films have a cut-off time if you want anyone to actually watch it. There’s a reason most movies don’t go over 2 hours and 15 minutes. It’s because people don’t like to sit and watch one thing for that long. So with a screenplay, economical writing is the best writing.

Have your story take place over a day, really doesn’t mean 24 hours. It means this; tell your story in just as much time as you need. No more, no less. Come into a scene as far into the action as you can, don’t meander on pointless bullshit, like greetings or entering rooms. Trim anything superfluous. It’s really not restricting at all, it’s focusing. What is so important in any film is the stakes. What is the why behind the action? What is the what-if ahead of the action? These are the questions audiences have been conditioned to ask. So you need to make sure you have real stakes. Stakes that matter. And one of the best ways to do that is to set a story with a time limit. If things happen over too long a time the stakes can seem low, boring, uninteresting. Of course, many movies don’t have insane stakes, but they still have their own version. Some films meander, but only if the story is about meandering. Keep only what you need and forget the rest.

Final Thoughts

In our second-to-last class, we discussed what an average person’s timeline of life would look like and what someone would feel at various points in their life. While this is virtually impossible – everyone has different experiences and any two lives can be completely different – I thought the class did an admirable job trying to sketch out “the average life” while we then discussed and talked about all the way in which “the average life” does not exist. I would like to look at this, however, from a more narrow point of view, one that magnifies the average life for a smaller group.

For example, if you have issues with mental health, the “average life” argument goes out the window. Your “average life” is lived 15 minutes at a time, with little accomplishments like waking up and eating breakfast celebrated with similar excitement as graduating high school or college. I know because I’ve been there, and I do not wish to go into further detail. That being said, this and other issues can warp and alter someone’s sense of time permanently. Also, for many of us, the traditional lifespan is something that we would rather not think about; at least this is true in my life. I’m trying to get through today, and when your mindset is this fixed, it’s hard to think past that day.

That being said, it’s interesting to sit down and map out how someone feels at various points in their life. At this point, most of us are feeling anger and anxiety towards a system that has us stressed out and begging for answers. However, for most of us, emotions are not static, and we have the same capacity to feel good emotions as bad. We don’t have to be stuck in a certain state if we don’t want to; ultimately, how we feel should come from inside of us and not external sources.

Time and Trauma

What measurements of time should we have for those suffering from serious diseases or those who have gone through trauma? For these individuals, time is significantly altered, warped or, worst of all, nonexistent. That was the main takeaway I had after Nindyo’s class towards the end of the semester, that victims of trauma and those suffering from other physical pain have a significantly altered sense of time. For example, someone with dementia has a much weaker sense of time than someone with their senses fully intact. Because of this insidious and terrible disease, it is tough for someone with it to get their hands around time and the daily norms of society. The same is true for people with Parkinson’s.

I have had distant relatives suffer from dementia, and even though their fight was painful, I distinctly remember one significantly light-hearted moment. It was at Christmas, with my great grandmother and my great aunt, both of whom struggled with the disease in their final years. As they communicated across the room to each other, one realized that they were forgetting something. The other exclaimed that all she wanted was a good Easter. While this was a moment many of us laughed at, it was a living example of just how skewered time can be to someone who has this awful disease. Because of it, the mere sense of time and date can change by the minute, and it did for my two relatives, both of whom have since passed.

I also believe, after learning what we did in Nindyo’s class, that victims of trauma must experience something similar. There are two versions of someone who goes through a major traumatic event: the person from before and the person after. The date and time of the trauma is something that victims remember vividly; that’s why someone like Christine Blasey Ford, in her recounting of an unwanted sexual encounter with Supreme Court judge Brett Kavanaugh, can remember events from nearly 40 years ago like they happened yesterday. While I am not as familiar with the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder on individuals, I do believe that the repeating of the stressful event, as well as how much it can sear itself into one’s conscience, can warp someone’s understanding of time.

“Shorter of Breath, And One Day Closer to Death…”

I thoroughly enjoyed Seneca’s “On the Shortness of Life”, in which he talks about death and dying. Essentially, in that article, he says that every day, we get slightly closer to death and closer to the end of our lives. This makes our lives seem futile and our actions, particularly the more mundane ones, unimportant. It makes everything we do seem meaningless because in the end, all we do is live and die. Of course, this is not what Seneca is arguing, but his attitude on this subject certainly makes it seem as though that should be our attitude. And frankly, it’s hard not to feel that way when faced with the question of what our lives actually mean. But let me argue why it is important to live lives of honor and dignity, and to perform good works while we are here.

A life spent effectively and usefully is one that will be remembered for years after that person dies. The quickest way to be remembered positively is to perform good and moral works, whether these be for charity or merely for a person in need of your assistance. Even though life may seem meaningless while you are living, but if you live the right way, you can make a meaningful and lasting impression upon others. After all, life is most meaningful for the relationships we cultivate and are able to keep, and the substantial contributions we can make with others can be enough to outlast the pain and suffering that comes with each and every life well-lived.

This also leads into another question I would like to ask about suicide and lives cut short. If you are tragically taken from us or decide to end your own life prematurely, what would that mean to Seneca? And how would we measure your time? In my opinion, the measurement of time and the “closeness to death” idea would become completely altered and obsolete at this point. If you take your own life, you are also choosing to end its meaninglessness and suffering. You are choosing that the pain you are currently feeling outweighs the resources you have to fight it, and therefore, you can’t go on. However, you are also cutting off some of the meaningfulness and purpose of your life. The moral of the story is this: your life has meaning. You matter. And, despite what some, like Seneca, may say, being one step closer to death doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of life.

What Does Time Mean to You?

We have had many a fascinating discussion of the different monuments of time in this class. From a Buddhist monk ringing a bell at the mark of various important times to the Fordham clock tower to even a monument like Big Ben in England, there are many famous monuments of time in the world. These physical monuments that tell us what time it is – or, in other cases, why that time is important –  have special meaning in our lives. These meanings are different for everyone, and I hope to flesh out these meanings even more in this blog post.

For example, what does the Fordham clock tower mean? For some, it could just mean a very loud indication that an hour has passed since the last time it went off. For others, it could be a larger symbol of the passage of time and the slow erosion of yet another day, one merely indicated by the hours that tick by every 60 minutes. However, both of these meanings can be equally true. For some, the clock tower, like other true indicators of time, could be a long-standing symbol of authority, a true, accurate bastion of accuracy in a world slowly becoming more full of inaccuracies. In such a world, a clock tower can hold a new significance because its accuracy is more of an outlier than it is previously.

And, additionally, in such a world, people want to find something they can authoritatively and unquestionably look to for clarity. In a world of digital clocks, old-fashioned ones like Fordham has and the one on top of Big Ben turn the clock backwards. In a world of questioned facts and confusion, clocks provide real, unquestionable answers. This may not seem important to everyone, but traditional clocks are a symbol of accuracy. And even when they’re wrong, they’re still right twice a day.

Visual Representations of Time

In this portion of the course, we got into the visual representations of time. One of my favorites was a comic regarding this subject, in which one of the characters observed that “in learning to read comics, we all learned to perceive time spatially.” Comics are one of the most fascinating ways in which we can observe time, and perhaps even more relevantly, comics are an indicator of the change between generations. While our parents grew up on Charlie Brown and Calvin and Hobbes, we grew up on television and video games to stipulate our senses in this manner. This is yet another symbol of the rate of change of our technologies and how far we have come just in the span of one generation.

This leads to another interesting point about visual time, which is that there are many different forms and representations of visual time. Some are obvious – the wrinkles on a face or the grey hairs around out, coupled with someone’s physical signs of age. Others, less so – a physical newspaper instead of online articles or an older person choosing to write something down with a pen and paper instead of typing it. My point is that visual representations of time are all around us, but perhaps this entire class has been a visual representation of time. Perhaps just these four months have been their own visual representations of time, with all of us going through ups and downs, changes in our lives, and changes in the weather.

So when we think of visual representations of time, some of us will think of the obvious and more narrowly-defined representations, while others among us will think more existentially about these representations. We should be thinking about all things, in some form or another, as visual representations of the too-rapid passage of time, and this could include literally everything. Of course, the more narrow definition of a visual representation, such as a comic, is not necessarily wrong. However, we should try to make this definition much wider in scope, and by thinking of everything as fitting into this category, we can do so immediately.