As fictionkin, whenever we experience a memory of one of our kintypes we have to as “is this a real memory from my kintype, or is this just a daydream or interesting thought I’m having regarding my kintype?”. Now I ALSO have to ask “if this is a memory kintype is it a memory of something that actually happened, or a memory that was induced later?”.
So I’ve been thinking about memory a lot, and how to determine if a memory is ‘real’. Here are my thoughts.
This is mostly directed toward people looking to distinguish the veracity of their kintype memories, as well as anyone struggling with amnesia, implanted memories, delusions, hallucinations or who has other causes to doubt recalled events.
First, accept that every mind is prone to memory errors. This includes single human minds that are and have only lived one lifetime in one brain, as well as fictionkin and other minds that have traveled between bodies, brains, and lifetimes.
The further we are in time and space from an event the less our memory holds of the specific, concrete physical details of the event, and the more it holds on to worn impressions of it; how it made you feel. How you reacted to it. The meaning it would hold for you later. Your memories (probably) aren’t like a perfectly staged virtual recreation of an event, person, place, etc, but more like a jumbled moodboard of fragments of ideas, sensory data, and associations related to it.
Secondly, accept that there are two kinds of reality, when it comes to memories. ‘False’ memories of things that did not happen in a physical space or alter or impact a physical external reality or other beings outside of your mind still do alter your internal reality. A memory, whether true or false, changes our internal landscape– and that same change in the internal landscape can mean subtle or greater differences in your decision making and actions in our outside reality; the space that does impact other people. Non-real events affect you, and in that way can affect events going forward. Even false memories can have a kind of reality.
The best way to verify the validity or reality of a memory is to compare it to external evidence. Does a place you remember match your memory? Are other people reacting to events that you believe occurred? Is there physical evidence to back up what you believed happened? The existence of photographs, paper documents, etc are good evidence (but not irrefutable evidence) that something you remembered is real.
However when dealing with memories that occured in the distant past, in entirely different realities, or other physical spaces we have no access to it is impossible to access immediate physical evidence to check our memories against.
In absence of physical external evidence to check the validity of our memories with, we unfortunately have one main thing to rely on. Consistency.
Below are some ideas on how you can consider consistency of memory to determine the validity of memories in absence of physical evidence:
Consider how the contents, events or otherwise, affect other memories. Are they consistent with other memories?
- Does the remembered event have an effect on events you remember happening in the future?
- Is the event the logical conclusion of an event you remember happening prior to it?
- Does the person or people in your memory act consistently with other memories you have of them?
- Does it make sense for them to be where and when you remember them?
- What details do you remember about the place?
- Do these details make sense in the context of the memory
- What happened at this place? Why is it important? Does it make sense for the people and events you remember to be connected to this place?
With a partner:
If you have access to a person you trust who remembers, or should remember the same events you do you can check the consistency of your memories between one another.
Tips for this include:
- Each of you write down your memories of an event or other by yourself, and then share them with your partner without discussing prior.
- What details match? What details don’t match. Is there a logical reason to account for the difference in memory?