Your Memory Is a Filthy Liar
The Cracked Podcast #40July 14, 2014
Did you know Michael Jordan is convinced no one ever believed he’d be a great basketball player? It seems inconceivable — just as crazy as that pristine, perfect image of the 1950s so many old white people seem to believe in. Or, the memory millions of Americans have of watching the Challenger explode on TV (even though most of their classrooms didn’t have TVs). It’s not because MJ, those elderly folks and everyone who attended grade school in the 80s are liars. It’s because the human memory is fucking awful, and our brains actively make up shit based on things we hear or decide after-the-fact. On today’s podcast, Cracked editors Jack O’Brien and Jason Pargin talk about the “filter” in our brains that makes us remember everything the wrong way.
There’s a reason most fatal accidents happen close to home: your eyes aren’t windows to the world. They’re crafting a picture of reality based on what you’ve seen before and what you expect. History isn’t as much a list of ‘what happened’ as it is a collection of lies and misperceptions a bunch of people have passed down over time. Remember Tom Cruise running out on stage and jumping on Oprah’s couch like a crazy man? No you don’t, because that’s not at all how the actual interview went down! We just want to believe he’s crazy hard enough that we invented a lunatic episode for the man. Remember seeing that first plane hit the tower on 9/11? No you don’t, because that first impact wasn’t recorded on television. Your brain is lying to you, and if you click play you’ll learn exactly how.