“What I had going for me was teen rage, contempt impervious to offers of compromise; the power of the mask capable of turning ice to marshmallow, and all the time in the world, all the ability to sustain it without surrendering.”
London Review of Books Feb 2012
On Alison Winter’s Memory: Fragments of a Modern History, and issues of memory in the 20th century.
Underlying the compelling feeling that we are our memories is a further common-sense assumption that our entire lives are accurately retained somewhere in the brain ‘bank’ as laid-down memories of our experience, and that we retrieve our lives and selves from an ever expanding stockpile of recollections. Or we can’t, and then that feeling that it’s on the tip of our tongue, or there but just out of range, still encourages us to think that everything we have known or done is in us somewhere, if only our digging equipment were sharper.
London Review of Books Sep 2011
In 1959, a social psychologist in Michigan brought together three institutionalized patients for an experiment:
[W]hat would happen, he wondered, if he made three men meet and live closely side by side over a period of time, each of whom believed himself to be the one and only Jesus Christ?