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On my TV screen a psychic mutant covered with phlegm asks Arnold Schwarzenegger what he wants The same as you Arnold says To remember But why To be myself again Arnold responds The movie is Total Recall an actionadventure flick based on the Philip K Dick story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale Arnold plays an ordinary guy who is frustrated by dreams of Mars where he has never been So he goes to a memory shop to buy a false memory the memory that he was a secret agent on Mars While Arnold is unconscious the folks at the shop discover that they cant implant the false memory because they find that Arnold really had been a secret agent on Mars Then of course all hell breaks loose and theres plenty of running and shooting and diving through windows and flames and explosions and all that other good stuff The interesting part unless you really like explosions is Arnolds continuing uncertainty Was his ordinary life false a dream imposed on him when he stopped being a secret agent Or is the current shoot-em-up situation all a dream He cant trust his memories--and so he cant tell what is real and what is false You of course dont have any such difficulties Your brain hasnt been tinkered with by secret agents or memory technicians You can trust your memories--cant you Dont count on it You are about to hear a speech about memory and how it works Some of the things Ive learned--and you will too--are a little disturbing So in a spirit of generosity I thought Id share them with you The Devil in the Details Jean Piaget a Swiss psychologist noted for his studies of childhood development believed for many years that he remembered something that had happened when he was just two years old He wrote I can still see most clearly
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