Eber and Neal address some of the theoretical issues connected with symbolic constructions of reality through human memory and its subsequent representation. Linkages between what we remember and how we represent it give humans their distinctive characteristics. We construct our reality from how we perceive the events in our lives and, from that reality, we create a symbol system to describe our world. It is through such symbolic constructions that we are provided with a usable backdrop for shaping our memories and organizing them into meaningful lines of action.
These case studies present a new and creative synthesis of the multiple meanings of memory and representation within the context of contemporary perceptions of truth.
The essays in this collection present communities beset by unexpected social and physical events. Some outline immediate responses that soon pass and some that will not go away. Who would have foreseen that Elvis would be a phenomenon apparently as lasting as the faces on Mount Rushmore? Cultural history will not allow us to forget the H. G. Wells account of the Martian attack, nor can we ever forget the continued terror of the Chernobyl explosion. Ordinary Reactions to Extraordinary Events catalogues on the Geiger counter of human emotions societal reactions to events both earthshaking and culture-disturbing.