The Mandela effect terrifies me. But not for the reasons you think.
In case you don't know the term, it's about a lot of ppl remembering something incorrectly, but extremely vividly. For example, many remember the Fruit of the Loom logo "originally" including a cornucopia, while it never did. The name comes from plenty of ppl "remembering" Nelson Mandela being dead back in the 80s.
The tongue-in-cheek "explanation" is alternate timelines.
Here's the scary part:
The Mandela effect is a quirk of human memory. Several quirks, in fact. It's well-documented that emory is flawed and it's very much NOT a "recording". We compress, combine, simplify memories. We re-remember things constantly, especially if we retell the story. We confuse two separate events or even ppl.
There've been experiments showing that we actually invent memories on the fly when we're shown photos of events that never existed and told they're from our childhoods.
Nothing unusual about this. Memory-forming is an ad-hoc biological system that uses poor compression algorithms. A brain is not a hard drive on a computer.
I remember things from my early childhood from third person (and I've read it's not that uncommon). It's literally impossible for me to remember a scene where I *see* myself. But that's common for people who have been told stories about their childhoods. And the memories feel 100% real to me. Again - that's normal.
The worrying part is that the existential unease this causes overrides, for many people, any self-reflection. We can't conceive of what defines us so much, our memories, as being anything but 100% accurate.
Most people think of the Mandela effect as a somewhat freaky curiosity. But I've seen MANY people treat it with utmost seriousness. They'd rather believe in alternate realities than in their own memories being incorrect in places.
This is, in a word, dangerous.
We'll put the comfort of constructing a sense of self over rationality any day. Rejecting anything about one's sense of self is existentially crushing, even if it's about a Fruit of the Loom logo. Memories, beliefs, attitudes NEED to be more real than reality - it's human. Deep down, your psychology or mine is motivated by the same self-perpetuating mechanisms as those of, say, a flat-Earther.
That is scary.
And if you think I exaggerate? Sure, keep telling yourself that.
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