Happiness: A Theory – This Amnesiac Life

What can we do about our own failure to remember our recent misdeeds?  Working memory has been described as seven separate pieces of information that are replaced every twenty seconds.  What may appear to be multitasking  may be little more than trolling for focus in a momentary eddy of information.

The information our brain selects to join the pool of facts eligible for consciousness often appears bereft of the negative character of our recent communications.  It simply isn’t necessary to our cohesive function for us to question our own expressive style.  Put simply, if we made a cutting remark, raised our voice, or decapitated the phrasing of our conversational partner, we may well be oblivious to it.  If confronted about our rudeness, we are likely to deny it.

The fallout from blindness to our communicative misdemeanors is a heightened potential for opaque sparring, the verbal equivalent of star wars.   The potential for an empathic  exchange drops to zero.

There may be one answer to this problem.  If we recognize that our own lives unfold like book chapters we have merely scanned, that we proceed regularly without the facts about our own provocations, we may, over time, cultivate empathy toward those who bark angrily at us.


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