Oh, the memories…

It’s now known that our memories are not like a VCR or DVR, we don’t record everything, store it in our brains and then later, simply recall the correct video when required. No, we only record specific and meaningful parts of a memory—like a person’s face but not the color of the wallpaper behind them—and then, later, our brain brings back the meaningful bits and fills in the rest with a good guess…basically it lies to us. There’s simply too much information for our brain to handle so our brain inserts things that it already knows about; things we’ve experienced, lessons we’re taught and influences of people and environments around us. Basically, our upbringing.

For example, If what you’ve grown up around is all about fundamentalist Christianity, then when you try to recall a memory about a conversation (i.e. about homosexuality), your brain will insert information—for the ideological stuff it has nothing specifically in memory—that has to do with fundamentalist Christianity because that’s what it knows. Or Jewish tradition and history…or progressive liberalism…well, you get the point.

Whether you believe it or not, your memories are directly influenced by what you’ve experienced in your life and not exactly what happened. Two people remembering the exact same event will have completely different stories in their head when they recall the event later…

…and sometimes that mismatch can start literally a war.

The next time you’re arguing with someone about an event that happened in the past, think to yourself how your memory might not be as accurate as you’d like…and listen to the other person’s story…you may find that you’re both closer to believing the same thing than originally thought.

Believe. Go. Do.


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