[FPSPACE] The Red Stuff

JamesOberg@aol.com JamesOberg@aol.com
Tue, 24 Oct 2000 07:45:58 EDT


Thanks all, for this illuminating exchange. Perhaps the most significant 
lesson is to those of us who still seek to discover decades-old historical 
details based on current memories. These memories tend to degrade in 
predictable patterns. Cause-and-effect becomes oversimplified. Actual 
sequences of events become jumbled. People remember not the original events 
but only their string of retellings of the story, which evolves to increase 
dramatic content (and to stress the importance of the teller of the story, in 
the original events -- I call this process "centrification", gradually moving 
the narrator from the fringes of an incident to the center of it).  

I've encountered this most dramatically in my research into narratives from 
American astronaut Gordon Cooper -- which is "off topic" to this discussion. 
For those interested in an example, see
http://www.space.com/sciencefiction/phenomena/cooper_questioned_000929.html