A reader sent me this interesting video of Daniel Kahneman, father of behaviorial economics, talking about happiness.
Particularly he talks about how when we think about happiness, there are two selves that we should consider that are basically in constant conflict: our experiencing self and our remembering self. Our remembering self is a storyteller. Our remembering self is typically dominant in our identity in a very history is written by the victors sort of way. Something could happen one way, but because out remembering self is the one that either chooses to retain that memory or let it slip away like so many millions of other moments that we will never think upon again, it basically has the last and only word on whether we will remember something as having happened. The remembering self is vulnerable to particular biases like the focusing effect, which allow it to distort experiences to fit the stories.
It's easy for me to see this distinction in my own self, but I feel like my remembering self doesn't have quite the sway over my experiencing self that it does with most people? Like my friend who is obsessed with making money -- that is a very remembering self thing to do, to suffer through a difficult job in order to have the satisfaction and achievement of making money. I have never been that way. I live day to day. I specifically chose a job that leads to my greatest day to day enjoyment. My attention is by far directed to what is actually happening in this moment, rather than what happened in the past or may happen in the future. I bet this is true of all people who tend to be more hedonistic than goal oriented. I honestly don't see my life in terms of milestones and achievements (at least not solely, like others I know). I can actually think back on my life of experiences, I think, and not allow my remembering self to re-write my history, but to see days upon days filled with pleasure and believe that is the main accomplishment of my life. Of course that's going to mean that I make different choices than remembering selves would, and am probably ultimately more happy because it's easier to change your current moment to one of happiness than it is to change your entire life and self-concept.
But it is interesting hearing about how other people view their life. It's given me more insight in how other people think. And if your remembering self is all that matters, then maybe it makes sense to go Memento style and just re-write your own history.