Well , this is taken from a video from one of TED fabulous talks for Dr.Daniel Kahneman , The Riddle of experience vs memory. Summary for the talk.
Dr. Daniel started his talk with a common example, which was about someone who just listened to a beautiful symphony for 20 minutes but the last minute had these annoying noise, which ” Ruined it for me ” he says. A very common situation I believe. Happens to me usually in movies !
We think about other people as in two selves, the Experience self is the one living the presence, that is living the presence and capable of living the past , but it lives in the presence. It is the one that answers the doctor question ” does it hurt when i touch you here “. And the Remembering self that keeps track of the past , and maintains the story of our lives , and it’s the one that answers the question ” how were you feeling the past week ?”
Remembring self is a story telling , it is always On, not only when we are telling a story but also the memory is telling us stories about the past , but we choose to keep it to our selves , or keep it from the experience self, which is another story.
Dr.Daniel mentioned a study of experience on two patients, both suffered a pain , Patient A had a shorter pain than B , which applies the fact that patient B suffered more than patient A. However, patient B had a decreasing rate of pain till it disappeared, but with Patient A, the pain just stopped after it reached its peak.
That is a typical conflict between the two selves. We assume that patient B suffered more than patient A since the duration is longer, However Patient A has a worse memory of the experience more than patient B , since the most critical part of the story is the end, it made it worse to the story teller. Patient B didn’t remember it as a suffering experience as patient A did , since the pain faded away , so it ended softly.
Experience Vs Memory
In the experiencing self, a 2 weeks vacation , if the 2 weeks as good as each other, the experiencing self would say 2 weeks is better than just one, that’s not how it works with the remembering self, for the remembering self 2 weeks vacation is barely better than one , since you didn’t change the memories, as in different type of action, memory. Time here was the critical variable that distinguish between both selves.
The Remembering self does more than tells story , it also makes decisions , as your decisions are based on memories, which means you don’t choose between experiences , you choose between memories of experiences.
Apply that in Life
This means that being happy IN life , is different that being happy WITH life , both are really two different notations. You can never tell certainly about happiness in life. But the funny thing is you can tell about misery, and being unhappy, like in the example of how wealthy are you in relation to how happy are you, the study showed that the people who earn less than 60,000 $ are mostly unhappy with their lives , and the lines goes downward as the wealth goes download as well . which means we can tell if the person is unhappy or not . However , The line does not go upward with respect to wealth, surprisingly the line stays FLAT as the wealth goes up, so you cannot really decide how happy are you, yet it achieves satisfaction but it also reaches uncertainty about emotions since you have many things and missing something, somehow for the poor can imagine what they are missing that makes them unhappy.
It was quite interesting topic to know and to write about. I can also connect it to another Ted video i watched yesterday. It was also about a happiness measurement experience. 2 groups of students were called into this experience, they will make art clips of their classmates in two pictures and at the end they will get to go home with Only one of them. The first group had the option to choose between the 2 with the option of changing their mind and exchange it within 4 days. The other group had to choose one of them and go home with it without having the option to exchange.
The study is about how satisfy and how happy will the students be with their pictures, as a study of the human mind in accepting happiness. All the students were called after certain amount of time, and been asked about how much they like their pictures. The first group’s (the exchange group) result was that they liked the ones they eventually chose Slightly more than the one they didn’t, just liked it a little bit more, The other group liked the one they had A LOT more than the one they didn’t choose. Both groups asked if they get the chance to re-choose, non-surprisingly most of the first group thought they would choose the other one , however the entire second group decided they wouldn’t change the choice.
That gives us an impression that the human minds accepts that he has no choice, and -some sort of – Live with it and be happy with it, but in the case of options it gets more confusing and less happiness as the human mind thinks about other options that were available.