Autobiographical Memory: The Relationship Between Memory And Self Identity

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In the past, whenever someone asked me if I believed in ghosts, I would eagerly respond with, “Oh yes, absolutely.” I would then proceed to tell them about the place my family lived in for a very short time when I was an infant, which was “most definitely haunted.” I told stories which I distinctly remembered: the cat getting constantly getting caught in the screen-door, sinks and vacuums turning on by themselves, and my infant self giggling and playing with air when there was no visible person around. Of course, the reality is that I didn’t remember any of this. I couldn’t even tell that house from any other one, even though it’s located not forty minutes from the town I grew up in. My parents simply told me these stories and my mind adopted …show more content…
As it is stated in The Identity Function of Autobiographical Memory, "...self-identity depends on autobiographical memory, but the nature and strength of the association depends on qualities of both the self-identity and the memories. Moreover, the relation is reciprocal: People 's recollections influence their self-views and vice versa." (pg. 137, Identity Function...) This is the essential relationship between memory and self-identity. Paul Brok establishes a similar idea in All in the Mind with references to relevant theories of John Locke and Hume: “...John Locke famously identified the self with memory: arguing that a person’s identity includes whatever of his past he can remember... For Hume, the self includes not only the events and experiences that we remember, but also the events that we know or believe happened, based on inferences from what we do remember. Either way, a person who remembered nothing of his past literally would have no identity—no sense of self beyond that of in immediate experience” (pg. 373, All in the Mind). These memories help to construct the self as a mental representation of oneself, which is, "...in principle, no different than one’s mental representation of any other person…Put another way, the self represents one’s knowledge of oneself.” (pg. 371, All in the …show more content…
“…but there is more to the autobiographical self than a set of disconnected episodic memories. It is, first and foremost, a chronological narrative—the story of our lives. It includes the chronological relations among events, as well as their causal relations—what caused an event to occur, and what its implications were. How we divide our lives into epochs—pre- and post- tenure, first marriage and second one, before and after children and grandchildren. As it includes causal attributions, how we explain the course our lives took, may say as much about us as the events themselves (pg. 374, All in the Mind) Simply put, we communicate memories to others in the form of stories, and remember them as episodes in a similar fashion. In so doing, we view our self and our life’s events much as we would the personality or story of any other character from a movie, book, or play. We also have the ability to manipulate such stories, and consequently, have the ability to manipulate the way the world and others see us. “Borges and I” by Jorge Luis Borges is one of many representations of mankind’s tendency to view one’s life as a drama, in which they themselves are actors, and can manipulate their characteristics. “I like hourglasses, maps, eighteenth century typography, the taste of coffee and the prose of Stevenson; he shares these preferences, but in

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