Mixing Memories

I’ve had this situation happen when I feel like I have a memory that is so perfectly wedged into my mind, only to watch a videotape of the memory later on and find out that what I remembered isn’t what actually happened.

Or, I’ll have a memory is speckled with details from another memory. I’ll remember the correct sequence of events, but I’ll remember Bill making a particular comment when it was really Steve.

It probably happens more than I think. By probably, I mean almost certainly. And that’s kind of scary to think about.

It means that perhaps every memory I’ve constructed could be completely off. Sure, I might remember certain details correctly, but how I can discern which details are correct and which aren’t, especially in the absence of a video or audio recording?

(Interestingly, the same thing happens with movies. I remember certain scenes, certain intonations differently than what is actually on film. In fact, sometimes when I re-watch a film I know well, I have to check to make sure it wasn’t re-cut. That’s how strong my belief in my memory is.)

On the other hand, it’s kind of liberating. If my brain works this way, it’s certain that other people have the same issue. That means the way I remember certain events is not how other people remember them. And not just in a slightly different perspective sort of way, I mean fundamentally different.

None of us remember anything. We believe we have a memory, but that memory may be corrupt.

I guess this is why the gurus keep telling us to live in the moment.