What if you discovered that some of your richest childhood memories were actually fabrications?
According to Oliver Sacks, research suggests that some of our most vivid memories may not have happened–or at least didn’t happen the way we remember. Sacks states:
It is startling to realize that some of our most cherished memories may never have happened—or may have happened to someone else. I suspect that many of my enthusiasms and impulses, which seem entirely my own, have arisen from others’ suggestions, which have powerfully influenced me, consciously or unconsciously, and then been forgotten.
Sacks’ essay “Speak, Memory” is a meditation on consciousness, plagiarism, and how Sacks himself unknowingly appropriated one of his most visceral childhood memories from a letter.
Also, did you know Coleridge could read The Times paper, then reproduce the entire paper, including the advertisements, verbatim? Well, that’s in the essay too.