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Showing posts from November 24, 2013

once upon a time

We all like to believe that our memories are accurate, that the inner films and images of our past that bubble up into our awareness are true, and the stories we tell of ourselves are accurate. But what if our autobiographies are actually constructions, that each time we recite our life’s events—to someone else, or in our thoughts—we rewrite each remembrance, forever changing the contents? What if our memories have always been, in essence, fabrications built of the expectations and moods present in each retelling.

Just as it appears that the sun revolves around the earth, it generally seems to those uninformed that the sounds and images of memory are essentially neurally written into the memory centers of the brain after a significant event, and that our recollections are activations of the original cognitions. If a past event seems crisp and clear, in this belief, its because the original encodings have remained essentially unaltered.

Yet despite how real our past appears, significa…