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3:44pm on Wednesday, 13th May, 2020:



I was supposed to buy some pies at the weekend, but didn't. They were on the shopping list, but I didn't notice.

Yesterday, when my wife asked me where the pies were, I immediately knew I hadn't bought them. This is what I thought I'd post about today.

So the usual way to know you haven't done something works something like this: if I had done it, I'd remember doing it; I don't remember doing it; therefore, I didn't do it.

For the pies, it was different. I distinctly remembered not buying them.

People reconstruct memories all the time. I know that many of my very earliest memories are reconstructed because I appear in them. I can't see myself at a distance, so know I'm not remembering anything directly: what I've done is built up a picture in my mind of what I remember, assembled as a whole from fragments.

My memory of not buying the pies is like this. I can see clearly, in my mind's eye, a picture of the pies in Sainsbury's with me not in it and not buying them.

I must have constructed this image, because it's entirely imaginary. What's so unexpected is that the constructed memory came to me before the "I don't remember buying pies" one.

The human memory is a strange apparatus.

I was really looking forward to my pie, too!

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Copyright © 2020 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).