Well, not really. Justin Beiber is wherever he is. But have you ever wondered how someone or something you’ve never heard of before suddenly is EVERYWHERE after you hear about it for the first time?
Mimes (from the Greek memisis – to imitate, represent, mimic) are things that, for lack of a more sophisticated definition, ‘stick’ with us (both the singular ‘us’ and the collective ‘us’). But where were they and what were they before they were memes?
Let’s leave aside the notion of coming into existence for the moment, it’s too dark outside for metaphysics today. Let’s also assume that when you ‘discover’ something, you don’t just conjure it out of thin air. It was there before you found it, defined it, and made it part of your repertoire. But if you didn’t know about it before, lived a long life without knowing about it, could have lived a longer life without ever knowing it (Justin Beiber works well in this example), how come after you ‘discover it’ you feel like it is everywhere?
I suspect it has something to do with consciousness or more likely awareness. There are only so many things to which one can pay attention. Attention is something that comes in ebbs and flows. For a time you might end up doing one thing repeatedly – make the same foods, visit the same people, attend the same places – and then you stop. Who knows why, but you stop.
For that time that the thing that enters the active level of your awareness it seems considerably ubiquitous. It’s everywhere and then, poof, nowhere.
Invisibility is the ground from which that thing emerged and is the ground to which it will return as it ebbs and flows in and out of awareness. Public Relations and ‘brand management’ is one example of human intervention that tries to circumvent this natural cycle, but is in many ways distinctly anti-human. We are want to travel in and out of cycles of awareness, visiting and abandoning the obscure-sublime-obscure. Plucking consciousness from the context of invisibility, out of the ether, making it ‘real’ and then relegating it to a distant memory – returning it to invisibility.
I just hope the Beib returns to invisibility safely and with his bon coif none the worse for wear.