Memories Distort Our Current Reality

1148 Words5 Pages
According to my fellow psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, ‘what we believe with all our hearts is not necessarily the truth.’ Loftus illustrates that our memories, and the recollection of these past experiences, can in fact be unreliable and inaccurate, therefore distorting our current perception on reality. Our reality is an inescapable component of an individual’s life, consisting of one’s personal perception of the multitude of critical components which generates one’s actuality. Past experiences are critical in generating and shaping our acuity of what defines our reality. A distorted outlook on life, due to the memories which we gain over our lifetime, is evident in Michael Frayn’s psychological coming-of-age novel, ‘Spies.’ Frayn explores a falsified reality and the influence of memories as a cause of these distortions through the recollections of protagonist Stefan Weitzler and his lack of psychological maturity as a child to deal with life-altering events which occurred during a period of time surrounded by the trauma of war. He also emphasises the lifelong repercussions of an absence of closure as seen through Stefan’s reconstruction of his childhood memories in order to make sense and gain and understanding of his constructed realities and the lies and truth he was subjected to. The great philosopher Bertrand Russell theorised that ‘memories are created from a composition of sensory experience.’ His major premise was that everything, once sensed is filed away into categories in one’s memory banks, and makes sense only in the context of past experiences. ‘Stock memories’ of places, people and events help profile our current acuities and form the basis for future memories. Therefore, it is blatant that our old memories help us process our current reality, so that our memories make sense to us. This is evident in ‘Spies,’ as Stephen’s childhood memories
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