Honesty in Human Memory

As they fade into the rearview mirror of memory, events of the past tend to be mythologized, canonized or misremembered entirely.


On a global scale, the one class of people who used to rely on this fact of human memory—politicians—are finding it difficult to deal with the current state of constant remembering that’s going on with the Internet and social media.

On an individual scale, we still have the expectation that other people will forgive us our trespasses, even as we can forever hold their trespasses against them, with the help of our new tools.

However, all of this electronic remembering hasn’t led to more honesty. In fact, as the tendency toward tribal social sanctioning has grown exponentially to a global scale, there are more and more media driven conflicts over who owns the narrative, rather than whether or not the narrative was honest and truthful in the first place.

This is part of the core reason why the masses no longer really pay attention when it’s revealed that someone—most importantly politicians—lied about something consequential, because honesty is no longer the coin of the realm.

Instead, who owns the narrative, for the next 24-48 hours, is what’s important. After that, well, the masses can repost in their Facebook feeds all they want, because it won’t matter whether truth (capital “T” or small “t”) was served or not.

At an individual scale, cries of hypocrisy still ring out, but the sound grows hollower with each passing year, as individuals learn from the masses, that ownership of the story is more valuable than the veracity of the content.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com
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