Friday, October 14, 2016

Whose Memory Is Correct?

  Many years ago I started to write some of my memories from my youth down (and they are still around somewhere on Floppy Discs,) but I was discouraged when someone challenged my memories and so I stopped. Recently however, I have been encouraged by my son to jot some more down on paper. Well at least, on the computer. So I am currently doing so now, but in no particular order or chronology, but simply when currently inspired to jot them down. This brings me to the point of this particular Blog. Whose Memory is correct?

 Often, as I found to my discouragement, others memories disagree with ours. Yes, this can be so, but does that make any of them/us fully right or fully wrong? Remember these memories are of how one particular person experienced a certain event, and often people can experience the same event from a different angle or perspective to you and have a completely different memory to yours.

When I was not even a month past 11 years of age, the 1962 Bushfires passed around our house and so has become an indelible time line in my life, with just a few memories before it and a host after it. Getting married; Becoming a believer In Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour; Going to Africa; and coming back from Africa, have also become major defining times in my life.

 Going back to the 62 Fires, are my memories of it correct? Depends it seems on who you talk to. For instance I was talking to my two brothers earlier this year about the 62 Bushfires.  My oldest brother was there at the time, as was I, but our other brother was on Holiday with a mate and his family at Philip Island.  During our discussion earlier this year I mentioned one aspect about the Fire and a certain Gentleman who was there and who took charge of things where I was. My oldest brother started to disagree strongly saying that the person whom I mentioned wasn’t even there then. At which point our other brother (who wasn’t there at the time of the Fire) backed my story, saying that dad had often mentioned that the man I had mentioned, had indeed been there, and taken charge of things because initially, dad was not back from fighting the fire elsewhere.. At which point my older brother remembered that he and I, had in fact been on different sides of the Creek and with a different group of people, hence our experiences and memories differed greatly. Not because either of us were wrong but because both of us saw and experienced it from a different side of the Creek and from a different angle and perspective.

 So, if someone’s memories differ from yours, it is possible that they or you are wrong but more likely that they have seen and experienced it from different angles. So please check your facts before commenting and if they, or even I, have gotten the facts wrong, please forgive and please gently correct where needed. However, do remember that even though many people may experience the same event, that doesn’t mean that they experienced it in the same way or angle as you, and thus may well remember it differently to you. Again this does not make either of you right or wrong.  It just means that you may have experienced it from different angles.


No Biscuit said...

A friend of mine, currently retired from police work, commented that when collecting reports of an incident from individuals, though the reports will usually agree in the larger sense, you will often find disagreement over specific issues such as: who spoke first, was a person walking or standing, was a car blue or green. It made me wonder how an investigator could ever get a clear picture of an incident.

Walter parker said...

Thanks No Biscuit. But even in the examples you quoted, those answers could possibly still be correct, depending at which point of the incident the witnesses became actively involved in the incident. One witness could indeed hear the first speaker, but the second witness who arrives just as the second speaker is speaking, without hearing the first speaker speak, could honestly say the first person he heard, was the second speaker, but incorrectly assuming them to have been the first to speak. All of which makes it important for those asking the questions to get all the facts before coming to a conclusion. Thanks again for your input