The riddle of experience versus memory

The riddle of experience versus memory

Founder of behavioral economics and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman reveals the difference between our “experiencing self” and our “remembering self.” Getting confused between them is part of “the mess about the notion of happiness:”

The remembering self is a storyteller and that starts with the basic response of our memory. We don’t [actually] set out to tell stories when we set out to tell stories. Our memory tells us stories. That is, what we get to keep from our experiences is a story.


We don’t choose between experiences, we choose between memories of experiences. … We think of our future as anticipated memories.

He goes on to cite a number of studies from vacations to colonoscopies, and — this may reveal something about me — I get chills when I listen to these sorts of talks. The power, I suppose, of stories. Or, perhaps, anticipated memories.