Essays, Analyses and Meditations

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Memory, Identity, Self-deception

  • Coherence in your perception of yourself comes from a postulated (albeit unproven) unreliability of memory.
  • Memory provides a contradictory history of your motives.
  • By doubting the accuracy of memory, we create the illusion of coherence.
  • Memory is actually accurate (we did or thought both X and the opposite of X, our motives were both A and the opposite of A) but admitting it would require acceptance of a principle of indeterminacy in the macroscopic and especially social sphere.
  • It is not memory that distorts the past but our interpretation of what memory reminds us. Our goals have changed and, in order to find coherence in our own personal narrative, we need to adapt the original motives to the new goals, we need to prove to ourselves that we've always had the current goals in mind.
  • Self-deception is fundamental in order to give meaning to our lives, otherwise it would become apparent that we've been drifting aimlessly all our lives, achieving virtually nothing in virtually all the wrong directions.
  • The more fascinated with our self we are, the more likely that we distort what our memory "remembers" in order to fit it into the dogma of ourselves that we have created.
  • You cannot trust your own memory of yourself because you tend to reconstruct yourself, and then to reconstruct accordingly your memory of your previous self.