Memory is so broken in so many ways it is a wonder it works at all. People have many memories that are entirely false, though most people do not realize it or make light of it without considering the implications to their day-to-day lives.

There is a term, the Mandela Effect, for the many shared false memories that we share, but the truth is that is just the beginning if the problem.

Many people, myself included, remember Johnny Carson saying to Zsa Zsa Gabor “If you’d remove that damn cat” which never happened.

I have two memories of events that never happened, in addition to the one above. One I have always known was a false memory, the other I didn’t figure out until years later.

The first is I remember where I was on July 4, 1976, the US Bicentennial. I remember who I was with, where I was, and what we did. It is not just a memory, it is a very clear memory. It’s entirely wrong. I didn’t know those people in 1976, I didn’t live in that neighborhood, and that memory has to be from 1977 or 1978. You’d think I wouldn’t get these confused, the Bicentennial was a big deal.

The other is a memory I have had since I was about 12 years old. I was at a party in a park near our house, and it was a very formal party. All the men were in tuxedoes and all the women were in long ball gowns. I remember where exactly int eh park the party was. The reason I know this is a false memory is because in the memory I am in my early 20s.

If you have siblings, you probably have some shared memories you argue about because each of you remembers it differently and you are both sure you are right because, obviously, you *remember*.

But your memory is fickle, easily manipulated, and so very often wrong.

This is a problem, because we invest a lot in our memories, They quite literally define who we are, and without our memories, well, we aren’t ourselves. When someone questions our memoriy, we tend to get defensive. When someone proves our memory is wrong, we will often continue to argue and insis that our memory is correct.

Eye witness testimony is complete and utter garbage, and video has proved this over and over again, but it is still the most heavily weighted evidence used in courts. A believable eye-witness can, in and of itself, lead to a conviction or a acquittal in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Here’s a fun experiment for you. Get together with a group of friend and tell them you’re going to record the conversation for the night and in six months you’re all going to get together and listen to the tape. The purpose os to remember the conversation and who said what and what was talked about. No one can take notes or record on their own. In six months, have everyone write a summary of the conversation, who spoke about what, and as much detail as they can recall. Exchange papers.

Then play the tape.

Hilarity will ensue, I guarantee it.