Experience vs Memory

You can know how satisfied somebody is with their life, and that really doesn’t teach you much about how happily they are living their life. — Daniel Kahneman at TED: The riddle of experience vs memory

This reminds me of my experience in a car accident in how I felt when it happened in contrast to how I now remember and think of it.  I found a quote Padma Lakshmi had said in her interview with Vogue about her car accident experiences:

Being in a car crash was like an exhilarating hallucination, an unbelievable moment that oddly remains one of the most beautiful images in my memory.

When I first read that quote, I thought she very eloquently put exactly how I felt and remembered my own experience. Despite feeling horrible and terrified while it was happening, I now think of my accident as a beautiful moment in my life.  Isn’t it fascinating how my “experiencing self” is so different from my “remembering self?”  Daniel Kahneman seems to explain this odd distinction at the TEDTalks quite well.


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