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Experience or; the memory of the experience…

‘It ruined the whole experience’. Have we heard that? Someone describing an event in a very positive manner and all of a sudden, something occurs in the story which ruins the storyteller’s experience. One can think of – if it was the experience that was ruined – or if it was the memory of the experience.

Daniel Kahneman Nobel laureate in 2002 for his work within behavioural economics and decision-making definitely claims that it is the memory of the experience that is ruined – not the experience.

Mr Kahneman makes a distinction between the ‘experiencing self’ and the ‘remembering self’ that affects a lot of things in our daily lives and especially how we conduct surveys and pose questions in the surveys.  Many business decisions are based upon facts from surveys. What if some of them are wrong just due to inaccuracy in how we use our language?

To survive in the 21st Century from all the bombardment of messages, commercials and PowerPoint presentations etc. we learn how to temporarily shut down our senses at given times.  So what is happening when we develop a language, which is inaccurate, and deteriorate our ability to experience with our senses, i.e. to be present in the present?

We very often use ‘feelings’ almost as a synonym with ‘experiences’ when we probably mean ’emotions, tactility or state of minds’. Do we also misuse experiences when we really mean memories?

Please judge for yourself in this TED talk with Daniel Kahneman and reflect on why we put so much weight on memory relative to the weight on experiences?

One comment for “Experience or; the memory of the experience…”

  1. Is a drifting mind a happy mind? | propositum 4 Dec 2010, 12:07

    […] The strive for happiness seem to be an insatiable desire for many people. We throw ourselves over new remedies coming out from pundits irrespective if it’s a new book, a new method a new speaker a new study a new xx a new yy… If we scrutinise most of these topics we’ll find that most of the things aren’t new at all however packet in a new way or it’s a new content although with the same meaning and form as something already known, which been described amongst others in the 19th Century tale ‘The emeperor’s new clothes’ by the Dane H C Andersen. We might ask ourselves the question what it’s the driving factor behind our hunt for success and if happiness lies in new interior fittings, a family holiday or in new clothes, which we covered earlier on this site. […]

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