Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Mind is a Sieve

The Brian Williams kerfuffle has led to at least one positive thing, and that's this piece Slate did in recent days on ten ways to avoid false memories.  I don't know the ins and outs of Williams' own situation but I think the article could be stated simply as "distrust and verify" when it comes to our own recollections.

Recently, I heard a retired professor I know recount a tale about two women he had known a long time. By chance, I knew the story. One of them had been quite avant-garde in her style back in the day, and the other, fascinated by her had followed her around the supermarket. He told the story accurately, except for one detail--he got the women reversed. It was a minor detail, as both were alluring figures in their day, and it could easily have been reversed. But as I had known the one well and the other a little, and heard the first recount it, I am pretty sure I had the accurate version. But maybe I'm wrong. The fact is, we remember things our own way and for our own reasons and it's good to, uh, remember that...