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The errant consensus that memory is unreliable, applies to eyewitness testimony usually and is used by lawyers in defense of the clients in criminal and civil cases.
But is memory always fallible? Nope.
In that New Yorker issue that housed the UFO article mentioned here and elsewhere the past week or so is a piece by magazine regular Adam Gopnik: Peripheral Proust [Page 63 ff.]
The analysis of Marcel Proust’s various literary personalities is buffered by Proust’s masterpiece, A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, translated nowadays as “In Search of Lost Time” an egregiously mistranslation, replacing Proust’s eminent original biographer C. K. Scott Moncrieff’s Remembrance of Thing’s Past.
(In college I assiduously defended the Remembrance … translation, now sort of approved by Gopnik’s observations in his article.)
My point here is to defend UFO witness testimony from the quidnuncs who keep stating that UFO witness accounts are refurbished by memory, after the fact, sometimes long after the fact, and thus are not reliable.
That canard is incorrect and grievously false. Memory is usually as wholesome as a page from the Britannica Encyclopedia.
Of course, time will smudge recalled events, but Proust’s admired masterwork indicates that the intrusions of extraneous material thrust upon a remembered event or occasion are subsidiary to the core memory.
Freud’s now usually discounted but invaluable work on repression (repressed memory) shows that recalled material from the unconscious is flush with important (and accurate) recalled details.
The idea that memory is flawed is an extrapolation from a recall that’s been muddled by associative material or input that transcends the original input.
With UFO sightings (or encounters), the event is usually unique, and would neurologically impress, to be remembered in proper, truth-intended circumstances.
In Proust’s case, his characters, most representations of himself and his personal remembrances, while fictionalized, have been checked by Proustian fans and turn out to be substantially intact, thus correct, even to the smallest, seemingly inconsequential detail.
And in the UFO instances where serious, competent investigators have pursued details of an incident, a few have uncovered substantive and worthwhile information, bad and good, that place the event in either a worthwhile or a negligible category.
Such UFO episodes appear to be rare, as there are few which coalesce as a totally explained, one way or another, event.
Recalled memories should not be debased out-of-hand, but wooed for whatever accuracy that might be culled.
As with Proust’s supreme literary accomplishment, some UFO memories (or recalls) might provide an eye-opening (or mind-opening) clue that provides an answer to what UFOs are.
http://ufocon.blogspot.com – The UFO Iconoclast(s)
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