Constructed Memory

Constructed Memory

The reason I don’t remember much about going to Thermopylae is because we never went. I am combining my dad’s blogs and just got to the Greece entries. He wrote specifically that we would NOT go to Thermopylae. I guess I just remembered the name.

Dad was always giving me books and sometimes I would even read them! One that made a big impression on me was “The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us.” The title is from an experiment; the book is about “the myriad ways that our intuitions can deceive us… why we succumb to these everyday illusions and what we can do to inoculate ourselves against their effects.”

If I was mad about a perceived slight, my dad would basically tell me why I was wrong. This was very annoying–I felt he was “denying my lived experience,” to use the current vernacular–but I’m grateful for the lesson. Once I realized my brain is telling itself stories 24/7, and that I have some power to affect those stories, I felt less victimized by circumstance.

It also helps me be more compassionate towards others because I understand they are telling stories too. To very loosely paraphrase Marcus Aurelius: everyday you’re gonna have to deal with jerks, but they’re only jerks because they don’t know any better, and at the end of the day we are all bros who need to work together so try to be chill. I’m not saying I’ve mastered these concepts myself. But WHEN, not if, I fail, I always resolve to try again. I think that’s a useful lesson.

He was really big on bias in perception, memory, etc. He often advised people to write down their predictions just so they could see how wrong they were later. I’m generally not in the business of making predictions but if I do I try to write it down. The problem is I always scribble it somewhere random and forget to follow up. So, that needs work. 😬

I seriously considered not mentioning this at all so nobody would know I was wrong but the fact that I created a convenient new memory for myself based on bits of information floating around in my brain was exactly the sort of thing he liked to talk about. So, I confess! 😄

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: