March 24, 2023

Convenient Misremembering

Merriam-Webster defines selective memory as "an ability to remember some facts while apparently forgetting others; especially when they are inconvenient." It goes on to say; "the ability to retrieve certain facts and events but not others." 

You and I may have been at that same dinner when Bob spilled his wine on Sarah's dress and recount it with a different point of view. I thought Sarah was taunting Bob while you saw Bob as unprovoked and inebriated. It might have simply been an accident with no malice by either.

Details and distractions 

Think about a time when you lost most if not all memory of a situation. I've been on the earth long enough that there are gaps of my history I don't remember. That doesn't mean I have deficiencies or those events didn't happen, but rather I've filed them in some badly labeled box in the basement of my brain. Often with a few added details, I can recount them. I'm sure you've experienced the same. 

It's not that we don't remember or we are being selective, but rather the experiences are packed away because they're not important at the moment. Sometimes events that happened twenty years ago feel as clear as if they had happened this morning while there are days I don't remember what I had for breakfast the day before. 

Sometimes it's inconvenient; sometimes it's unimportant.  
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