9/11: when you don’t believe

memories

9-11-looking-back-looking-aheadTwo articles about 9/11:

An issue of the Now I Know newsletter was particularly fascinating. It was called When You Don’t Believe Your Past Self.

“Think back to a major moment in your life — something which you truly think you remember each and every detail about. Now, try to recall something mundane from that day, something unrelated to the main events of the moment. What you ate for breakfast, which shoes you were wearing, the weather, the day of the week, etc. Unless you have a savant-level recall, chances are your memory of that fact is, at best, a guess…

“But where is that line between ‘important stuff’ and ‘I think it was a Thursday and cloudy out? It turns out that, even on days we think are seared into our memories, those memories aren’t very reliable.

“Actually, it’s worse than that. If one leading study is any indicator, not only do our memories kind of suck, but we can’t really deal with that fact.

“For horrible reasons, most of who were alive on September 11, 2001, can remember a lot about where we were and what we were doing that morning… Plug in just most other dates in the last fifty years, though and that’s not the case. For memory researchers, 9/11 [was an] opportunity to run experiments that are hard to replicate.

“A year after the terrorist attacks, a group of researchers from asked more than 3,000 respondents… to write down their memories of 9/11 — where they were when they found out about the attacks, who they were with, etc. The research made the same requests of the same people a year later and then again in 2011, ten years after the attacks. And what they found… was that stories changed over time…”

eight forty-six

From 8:46 AM 9/11 to 8 minutes 46 seconds, 2020

“The attack on the World Trade Center led to responses that are not possible today. In France the headline of the newspaper Le Monde was ‘Nous sommes tous américains — We Are All Americans…’

“Nineteen years later the French may still remember but it is a different United States they see today. The eyes of the world are still upon us but what do they see now.

“1. They see a country which failed to manage the coronavirus, became the world leader in coronavirus deaths, declared victory, and moved on content to have 800-1,000 deaths a day forever.

“2. They see a country divided by racism preparing to refight the Second American Civil War.

“3. They see a country that has abandoned its world leadership position of its own free will.”

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “9/11: when you don’t believe”

  1. I’ve thought about memory and suspect that we have “templates” that we hang a few details on. When asked about a past event in, say, our living room, we add a few notable specifics to the general picture, like a Christmas tree, or the last time I saw my Dad alive. But we don’t typically remember which end table had the candy bowl or what coaster was being used for the highballs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.