Every once in a while, a photo from a time in the recent Facebookpast – one year ago, four years ago – shows up in my feed. These images, not sought out or selected by me, is a record of a memory of another time, a reminder of how things once were.
It’s lovely seeing how the kids have grown, and also a little bit sad to think that time has passed. Each image a little joy and a little grief.
It’s also really interesting to notice how virtually every time an image is chosen by the random algorithm that is operated by Facebook, it’s a memory I haven’t thought of since then.Oh yes, that’s right, we went here or there, did this or that.I had forgotten, but we looked really happy.It led me to ponder about the role of memory in our lives.As a philosopher might say, if a memory is not ever recalled, did it in fact even happen? If I recalled we were happy, does that mean we were?
Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics, Daniel Kahneman, discusses how much of our experience of ourselves and our reflection of our lives is based upon two aspects of ourselves – our experiencing self, living in the moment mindfully, and also our remembering self, who sorts through memories and comes up with a story of us.Yet, even for the most wonderful events in our lives, many of us devote very little time to remembering them, and how much of our day is spent remembering or reflecting?
Numerous studies have shown that our experience of the moment can be completely different to our recollections of that experience at some time in the future.Our memories change.He shares the story of people who think they will be happier if they move somewhere warmer.As happiness is not correlated with climate, it’s highly likely that they won’t be any happier, but they will believe they are happier and develop the story of this, because they will remember being colder and so convince themselves they are.
When deciding if we are happy, there is happy in this moment and also recall of the past to decide if we have been happy with our lives and we put our own spin on this.As Kahneman says, our experience and our memory are riddles and we can’t think straight when it comes to happiness.
Tarnya Davis is a clinical and forensic psychologist and principal of NewPsych Psychologists. Her book of columns, All Things Considered, is sold at theherald苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛