Personal Identity,

Do Memory Lapses Help Us To Be Happy?

6/12/2015 DK 0 Comments

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The excerpt below is taken from an article written by Marianne Janack, posted on Aeon on June 4th, 2015. Marianne, a professor of philosophy, talks about personal identity in relation to memory and whether it's sometimes better to have unreliable memories.
This summer, I had a dinner party at my house, and the discussion turned to the malleability (or lack thereof) of sexual identity. A lesbian friend insisted that she, for one, did not have a malleable sexual identity. She’d always been attracted to girls, she said, even before she had the kind of terminology that would have made sense of that, and told the story of her early crush on a female teacher. I asked how she could be certain that this wasn’t a mundane memory of the usual teacher crush, and why she interprets it as a sign of something larger. She answered that she remembered it very clearly, and so it couldn’t be that she was misremembering. That memory was her evidence, she said, that her sexuality, at least, was not malleable. Its vividness told her that it was true, and that it was the basis upon which she knew that she was ‘born’ gay.
If our personal identity is in fact found and assured in memory, then do incorrect memories shape our identity in ways that are different from "who we truly are"? Perhaps the fact that we have memory lapses provides support for the argument that we can control and shape our identity.

This article is definitely an interesting read as it talks about something we can all relate to and perhaps have thought about at least once in our lifetime. You can check it out by clicking here.

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