Sunday, September 30, 2018


Sunday Reflection: What we remember

The testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday has, to say the least, captured the nation's attention in a way a single event rarely does. In part, it is because that one event combined so much that is at the center of our consciousness at this moment: sexual assault, civility, political division, the rule of law, and the role of alcohol in our society.

But there is something else, too, that people are debating: memory.

I got a lot of notes this past week; some encouraging, some nasty. One of the more unpleasant ones was from a bile-spewing woman who told me that I didn't know what I was talking about because I had never been a victim. From there, she explained that she had been a victim (she was robbed and shot in the head), and that from this experience she knows that victims remember everything about what happened to them, and because she does not remember everything Dr. Ford must have been lying.

There is a lot wrong there.

One, and probably the most significant, is the assumption that someone she doesn't know has not been a victim.

Second-- and there is a lot of this going around-- she starts with a single data point (herself) and from that very limited data set draws universal conclusions.

I don't claim expertise in how memory works. But I am wondering how so many others have become so expert in that field that they are able to draw conclusions about two people they saw on TV for a limited amount of time under highly unusual conditions.

There could be larger role for humility in all of this. I am going to try to remember that.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?