Memories have a strange bifocal nature which means that the mood one is in when re-accessing them impacts on exactly what is remembered. It’s strange to think that these memories, that have so much subconscious and conscious impact on the way that we continue to act, can be so easily manipulated.
The other day I was reminded of a holiday I took with my partner last year to Carcavelos in Portugal. I spoke to him fondly about this trip and we reminisced about the restaurant we went to for a very romantic date, the beautiful architecture of Sintra (the ancient city built to straddle a mountainside) and the long sandy beaches. It was within in a passing throwaway remark that I made about the pool at the hotel that the strangest thing happened. Although his memory was vivid and he was able to recollect great detail of most of the trip, he drew a complete blank about the swimming pool. Even after prompting, he seemed completely unable to remember this small irrelevant detail.
It made me think, how much of what we accept to be our real past is in fact mis-remembered, malformed in our minds or completely untrue. Equally, how much have we forgotten, or indeed chosen to forget?
The brain acts as the master filter in that it will always choose to construct our realities to fulfill the truths that we believe about them. For example, should we believe we are lucky, our brain will only filter corroborating evidence to quantify the belief.
The final stop on my train of thought was made at a conscious decision to be more mindful about what I believe to the truth of my existence. Simply, we become what we believe will become of us.
We are the ultimate self-fulfilling prophesy.
(Photo – Eli Woodbine, Carcavelos, Portugal, 2015)