Are memories true?

How do you know if your history is true?

Elizabeth Loftus says that there are studies that prove that between 30-90% of people can be hypnotised, primed, or coaxed into creating a false memory. She says that it’s possible to create false trauma memories, too. She says that those memories have the same emotional impact as real memories, only they never happened.

So, if 30-90% of people can create false memories, how can I know what’s real and what’s not? How can I know if the history I’m basing my life and my personality on actually occurred? What about things I’ve forgotten about for years and years that suddenly pop into my consciousness? What if there’s no corroborating evidence? What if no one else remembers what I do?

How do we interrogate or investigate our own minds, when our minds are naturally unreliable and mercurial?

My sister wet the bed until she was 10. Nobody else in my family remembers this except me. But I’m certain it happened. Every night at around the same time, she would wake up vomiting and peeing. Dad would come in, clean her up, take her to the toilet and put her back to bed. Quite often she would wake me up, too.

We had pink bunk beds and a bedroom that was absolutely full of crap (toys, books, paper-mess, junk we found on the side of the road, clothes, you name it). I slept on the top bunk, and when I learned to successfully climb up and down the ladder the family shared a Vienetto (Australian icecream shaped like a log) as a reward.

Dad built the bunk beds out of solid pine (from a kit). He installed a bed-side lamp for each of us so that we could read in bed. Mine was yellow, and my sister’s was red. We listened to classical music or audio-books or story tapes every night, and Mum would usually read to us before bed. They loved us so much. They took such good care of us.

My sister had a plastic sheet under her fitted sheet, and a green basin next to her bed. So all Dad had to do was change the fitted sheet and empty the basin, and she’d sleep the rest of the night. I heard Dad comforting her, telling her ‘It’s all right, It’s all right, there there, there there, you’ll be OK” etc. He called her a slut. There was also a rhythmic, wet sound. Slap, slap, slap. Skin on skin. And my sister whimpering ‘No’.

I’ve been firmly told this is imaginary. That it’s impossible for it to be true. There’s no corroborating evidence. But I remember it.

What freedoms would you be prepared to give up, to end that? Would you be prepared to let someone see out of your eyes? Would you be prepared to let someone track you wherever you went? What if they mis-used the information? John Dal-berg Acton said “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

What corruption am I prepared to put up with, to ensure that never happens to anyone else? Because if there were a third party record, it would make a difference to my family. A big difference.

Image of leaf in park in Autumn

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