REPORT: NBC Shakeup Could Open The Door For Brian Williams’ Return

REPORT: NBC Shakeup Could Open The Door For Brian Williams’ Return –

While I don’t have much use for either Williams or O’Reilly I think the coverage has been quite unfair.

Memory is divided into different compartments, facts and observations are processed and stored separately but can get blurred together.

There was some story about that that recently, a study where people interacted on some problem solving and later were asked questions about what the solutions were, and 75% of the people involved thought that ideas actually given by other people, were their own.

I have a hypothesis of why that is, when you listen to someone you get an image of what they are talking about in the minds eye, a kind of reenactment.

If the mind just tags that as the truth, the risk is that it will be remembered in the first person.

And, in an important sense, that is your memory. It really is.  The reenactment you create for yourself may be completely different from the memory of the source due to misunderstandings and interpolation. 

Maybe the source says shots came from the side.  In your reenactment the movie in your head hears it coming from the left side, maybe from some misunderstood gesture- but the source knows it came from the right. So you can get a visualization that you believe is true that is simply wrong.

That’s part of why police separate witnesses so they don’t contaminate each other.  They do that because they can contaminate each other and after they’re done confusing each other about what just happened it can be a total gong show.

Every experienced trial lawyer has seen honest witnesses be completely mistaken and the longer the time difference the more that happens.

The issue needs to be outed and talked about, the pop psychology version of how memory works is just wrong and it causes all kinds of problems from wrongful convictions to workplace and family conflicts because our society has this puritanical bias that any inaccuracy is a lie.

How muddled can it get? 

Read “Wittgenstein’s Poker”, a book about how there was some conflict between the two best philosophers, Wittgenstein and Popper, decades ago.

Then around 50 years later Popper accused Wittgenstein of threatening him with a poker.

Other people that were there jumped in and said it didn’t happen, others said different things, it turns out around 30 of the leading philosophers of knowledge couldn’t agree what happened that day.

Wittgenstein and Popper were the two rock stars that night, all eyes would have been on them and one would expect everybody would have seen whatever happened.

My own read between the lines is Wittgenstein was known to be intimidating but not to be either violent or threatening. He was intense and histrionic but those who knew him regarded him as a tempermental saint. 

Popper hadn’t met him before so he wasn’t used to this and probably misinterpreted something and the memory became more exaggerated with time.   I don’t think he could get under Wittgenstein’s skin with arguments, Wittgenstein at his peak was far more dominating in philosophy than Michael Jordan was at basketball or Wayne Gretzky at hockey.  He was way out of Popper’s league. He was however exasperated at being surrounded by mental midgets.

Wittgenstein’s Poker should be assigned reading at law and journalism schools.


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