Friday, 15 February 2008
When I recall memories from my childhood (and I must admit that I don't have a very large pile of conscious memories from which to choose -- but that is probably an entirely different topic and one for my therapist ;-) many of them play back in my mind in the third person. That is, the mental image that is my memory recollection includes me as a child; the image is not the event as seen by my childhood eyes but as seen by an observer.
Now, I could understand this happening for events for which I really have no conscious memory but am recalling a story my mother told me. But there are some events that I am certain were never discussed for which this takes place.
Very recent events are recalled from my point of view in that I see things as I would have seen them when they happened. I can picture them from a third-person perspective but the "natural" recollection is first-person.
I have a few ideas:
1) For very early memories (before age 3 or 4), perhaps I did not have a complete sense of "I" and my consciousness was not completely differentiated from everything else. My memory, then, is from "my" point of view but at that time, "my" meant the outside world as well as.
2) How much has our "photo-op" culture affected this? Is this a result of seeing so many pictures and basing our memories on pictures rather on the actual events? I've been thinking about this lately and writing about it. If I want to relive an experience, all I have to do is scroll back through my iPhoto library and there it is. Little is left to our actual memory anymore. I wonder if my grandparents or great-grandparents experienced anything like this since they would have seen very few pictures of themselves as children.
3) Could this be some kind of split in consciousness or personality? The consciousness with which I am recalling the memory was not the consciousness directly involved in the event that created the memory?
So, does anyone else experience this? What are your thoughts on the cause or nature of this?