The riddle of experience vs. memory | TED talk by Daniel Kahneman
We often treat our (past) memories of happiness and our (present) experiences of happiness as one and the same. It turns out that our brains actually treat them very differently.
In this TED talk, Daniel Kahneman defines two versions of ourselves — our “experiencing selves” that live in the present and our “remembering selves” that maintain the ‘story’ of our lives.
As Kahneman explains, these two versions of ourselves are actually often in conflict. Our remembering selves are focused on significant moments and endings — they build a story of an event based on how much enjoyment we got from those moments. Our experiencing selves are focused on the current moment and how much enjoyment we are getting right now.
There are some great examples in the video that explain the concept and the implications for our own decision-making.
If you want to find out more, I recommend checking out Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow which covers this concept along with many, many other aspects of cognitive process.