Really quite a decorated psychologist.
It made me think a lot about my life.
Basically the talk differentiates between the happiness of 2 selves.
The experiencing self and the remembering self.
So for example, you go to a dinner and you enjoy yourself for the whole night.
But at the end of the night, the waiter accidentally spills red wine over you.
2 years later, when you think back about this incident, you only remember the red wine incident and your memory is tarnished due to this. Whereas the whole night of enjoyment counted for nothing.
Also, he mentioned going for a vacation.
Then he added that if all your pictures were deleted when you came back, and you had to take a pill which gives you amnesia, what would you do? Would you go for the vacation? Would you still go to the same place?
This was a very intriging question. Cos to me, if all we are, are our memories, then if there is no memory to take back, then why would I go for the vacation in the first place? It is as though if I went for a vacation which I did not remember, then would that mean I have wasted 1 week of my life? I think I would not even go for that vacation. Then when I think again, what if I helped someone during my vacation? But I do not remember it. Would that count for anything?
My thoughts then go to dementia patients. Especically those who forget their loved ones and children. And I feel sad for them. Cos they spent so much time loving their kids and spent so much time with their spouse and they cannot remember it. Knowing this, I feel sad thinking about it. But if this were to happen to me, the thing is, I won't even be able to feel sad at all. Cos I do not remember them so I would have no sadness to feel. Whereas the people around me would feel sad. Feel sad for me and feel sad for the people around me that I have forgotten them.
I also think about my old work. When I was experiencing it, everyday was a drag. I hated evenings cos tomorrow would come soon. I hated Sundays cos Monday would come soon. The money was fairly good. But when I living it, it was hell. But now when I think back, I feel it isn't that bad. But that is cos I'm thinking back. I believe if I were to go back then I would feel terrible again.
Similarly, there are days when I think I may be idling my life now that I'm jobless. So I get some days of stress when I think I should be doing something more, or some income producing activity. But yet, when I think about my past 2 years of unemployment, I feel no regret at all. I have been very happy throughout the past 2 years.
So I think our lives and memories are very strange and we need to take note about them. Like things that are bad, or things which we experience which are unpleasant, we should try to make good memories out of them, so that when we think back, they will only be good memories and we will be happy. Cos the experience is short term and it will be over. But the memory is long term and you will remember it. So in my opinion, we need to take care and cultivate our memories so that we are better able to think back and enjoy our lives and think that we have lived a good life.
No point living a life when on our deathbed, we think, I remember that I mostly worked my whole life and I dreaded going to work everyday of my life. That would be such a shame and waste of your life. I would love to think back when I die, and remember the fun times I spent with my family and friends, the memories and experiences we had, the challenges we overcame, the friends we lost along the way and the journey that I had through life. I think to me, that would be the best thing for me to think back when I'm at the last stretch of my life.