Memory Is Treacherous

Think about someone who has gone back to where he once lived and discovered it was a third of the size he thought it was.


Memory is treacherous, you can’t depend on it. It is basically always recreated to reinforce your anxiety or to make yourself look better. Whatever did happen is totally susceptible to subjective interpretation. I absolutely don’t trust my memory.

 – Milton Glaser


Why do we remember some things so vividly, yet relegate other memories to the darkest recesses of our mind where they may never be recalled? Perhaps to reinforce our self identity (the way we wish to be remembered) or as a form of self protection (from the way we don’t).

It’s not only the past that is open for interpretation and reinterpretation.

We are constantly interpreting the events happening in our lives through the lens of our own worldview. While the facts may be irrefutable, the meaning we interpret from the facts depends largely on our perspective. Our natural instinct is to look for a way the meaning behind the facts can confirm our pre-existing opinions and beliefs.

When the new puzzle piece doesn’t fit neatly into the jigsaw we’ve be constructing, we have the opportunity to ‘jam it in and make it fit’ or consider our worldview more fully and assess which pieces don’t work in tandem. The chance to challenge our beliefs is an opportunity to grow and perhaps connect with a way of thinking that we’d previously rejected or hadn’t considered.

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