Saturday, September 10, 2011

Recorded self

I had once watched a video from Daniel Kahneman on experiencing self and remembering self. I found the idea that our consciousness is ruled largely by remembering self fascinating.

It seems we are having a perfect day. Early in the morning we look at the mirror and see an image somehow slimmer than usual and the haircut seems at its best. The weather is fantastic, warm, crisp and clear. We go to beach, have a nice walk and swim, and then have lunch at the favourite café with best friends. We feel great. In the evening we go to a Beethoven concert at the Opera House. It seems the famous pianist is having his best day. Everything seems perfect. Then someone’s mobile phone rings.

All we remember from that day would be the dreadful ringtone; despite we had great time otherwise. Statistical average of our experiences is irrelevant.

What we remember is not up to our rational thinking. Remembering self weaves instances, occurrences, sounds and images, in random patterns that we cannot control. Throughout our lifetime we carry a long and heavy fabric of our memory on our shoulders; this is called remembering self. Our identity and behaviour is pretty much formed by it.

Social networking tools like Facebook allow us to record incomplete and discrete experiences. Hence when an outsider looks at them they see precisely that; an incomplete and discrete world depicted by you. Some of your followers may be experiencing these events with you in real time. But these records may  give a shady and often falsified opinion about you or events surrounding you. They may create incomplete reflections in others’ remembering self in surprisingly different ways.

You are not that dreadful photo, or video, or blog post. People will get a different you depending on how much experience they had with real you.

Hence perhaps we may talk about a third self, a recorded self. Recorded self is formed by recording experiences of experiencing self.

Recorded media often form dumb and incomplete images of us. There are gaps; other events and gestures may be missing in between and remain unrecorded; they may be crucial in depicting a more accurate and just picture of what we try to express.

I don’t know which one of them is more unfortunate, distortions by a remembering self, reshaping our consciousness second by second, or distortions by incomplete recordings.

I sense however that we are trained to waive threads of remembering self; no matter how unreal or erroneous our remembering could be; it is still the best approximation making us.

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