[FPSPACE] The Red Stuff
Tue, 24 Oct 2000 07:45:58 EDT
Thanks all, for this illuminating exchange. Perhaps the most significant
lesson is to those of us who still seek to discover decades-old historical
details based on current memories. These memories tend to degrade in
predictable patterns. Cause-and-effect becomes oversimplified. Actual
sequences of events become jumbled. People remember not the original events
but only their string of retellings of the story, which evolves to increase
dramatic content (and to stress the importance of the teller of the story, in
the original events -- I call this process "centrification", gradually moving
the narrator from the fringes of an incident to the center of it).
I've encountered this most dramatically in my research into narratives from
American astronaut Gordon Cooper -- which is "off topic" to this discussion.
For those interested in an example, see