Real, Lies, or Memorex?

Yes, I’m being flippant about the Memorex reference  (from an old commercial) but this headline truly worries me: Study suggests memories can be lies.

Real, Lies, or Memorex? Mandela EffectThat study may be valid. And yes, we do need a better understanding of memories.

However, I’m uneasy with the  social cue that headline conveys.

For some, it’s compounding the “you can’t trust your memories” messages I’ve been seeing in recent years.

Psychologically speaking, internalizing that message can be tremendously destabilizing.

I hope people don’t take that study as the final word in this field. After all, doctors and scientists have gone back & forth about memories – including young children’s memories – for decades.

And of course, the Mandela Effect is a sub-sub-category of memories, in general. They’re anomalies we don’t fully understand… yet.

Premature Concerns

Too often, I’ve read comments and emails that asked, “Am I losing my mind?” or “Am I going crazy?”

Some people discover an anomalous memory. Then, they awfulize. They wonder, “Okay, what else am I wrong about…?”

That’s not something anyone can evaluate, online. (I’m not a mental health expert, and never intended the Mandela Effect topic to sway in that direction.)

Remember: that memory study doesn’t mean all – or any – of your memories are dangerously flawed.

In fact, thinking “it’s all in your head” may be the worst first step if you have a “different” memory.

In this video, I offer my suggestions.

https://youtu.be/fMZ1xo95fyk

Having ruled out simple confusion, etc., I think it’s important not to internalize news stories that could be destabilizing.

Personally, I love the idea that it might be evidence that – now and then, like tourists – we’re sliding into an alternate reality, and then return to our home reality. Maybe it happens just once. Maybe it happens routinely, with dreams as the passageway.

So, for me – and many others – the Mandela Effect is a fun concept.

At the other end of the spectrum, if your “different” memories worry you, please talk with a professional – a doctor, or a trusted member of your faith community, for example.

Most people seem to be in-between those extremes. They’re pretty sure they remember, say, Berenstein Bears. It seems kind of odd that the books aren’t called that, in this reality… but, hey, it’s okay. After all, a whole lot of other people share that same Berenstein memory.

And life goes on.

Meanwhile, I still say trust your memories. Whether their factual content is accurate or not, your memories came from somewhere.

And of course, that “somewhere” may have been mistaken. That’s not as much fun as thinking we’re reality tourists, but… for many people, mistakes are the Occam’s razor answer. (“Simpler solutions are more likely to be correct than complex ones.”)

You’ll need to decide that for yourself.

Where Some Mistakes Come From

Dewey defeats Truman - false headline 1948Human errors happen.

I’m reminded of the classic (and very wrong) newspaper headline, claiming Dewey had won the 1948 U.S. presidential election. (He didn’t. Truman won.)

That wasn’t the first time a newspaper blundered. It was far from the last.

Every news agency wants to be the first with a headline, and – sometimes, in their haste – they get it wrong.

That’s not the only problem.

Elvis alive, after all... or notYou’ve seen ridiculous tabloid headlines. Some are easy to dismiss, but – obviously – enough people believe them, and buy those newspapers.

And then they tell other people those stories, like they’re actual news. (My grandmother’s elderly sister believed them. She also thought all “world wrestling” competitions were legit. We didn’t spoil her fun by explaining the truth.)

Even worse, sites like Channel23News can generate some very convincing “news reports” that regularly flood social media.

I feel so very sorry for angry & upset people who take them seriously, and don’t fact-check before sharing those stories with others. (Really, learn to use sites like Snopes.com. And stay far away from The Onion.)

At the other extreme, some obituaries have been released, prematurely. You can find lists at sites like Wikipedia. (And yes, Sinbad is on that list, as well. I have no idea what makes him such a vortex of Mandela Effect stories, but it’s interesting.)

Sinister influences?

Sometimes, I’m accused of… well, all kinds of things. I’ve even seen myself described as a “conspiracy theorist.”

(Umm… no. About 90% of my professional work involves debunking false anomalies. If I say a site seems haunted, you can be pretty sure the problem isn’t just wonky carpentry, rodents in the walls, or noisy plumbing.)

I want this to be very clear: The Mandela Effect has never been about conspiracies.

In Dragon Con’s green room and at this website, our earliest Mandela Effect conversations were (mostly) among science fiction geeks like me. Many of us had science or philosophy backgrounds, and added those cues to our discussions.

Our speculations were more “what if?” than anything set in stone.  We were authentic, but not always serious.

Also, I’m pretty sure most of us were (and still are) fascinated by weird things. Some of this site’s earliest visitors grew up with old copies of Fortean Times, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and the Weird USA book series.

Did we accept everything at face value? Of course not. It was more an open-minded, “wow, look at this!” series of discussions, with a little speculative science in the mix.

Sadly, just a few years later, other Mandela Effect interpretations flooded the Internet.  People made ridiculous claims about the Mandela Effect, and (deliberately?) misinterpreted what was said at this website.

Even now, I see this topic – and myself – portrayed like something from a TV trope. (The truth may disappoint you. See this site’s FAQs for my answers to related questions.)

So, I’m sorry to disappoint anyone, but – in my opinion – the Mandela Effect has nothing to do with conspiracies.

Start by Believing You’re Okay

Many (perhaps most) people have a few memories that don’t match what others recall.

You probably do, too.

Research your alternate memories. See if other people remember the same thing. Get to the truth, as best you can.

If you’re certain of your memory, and can’t find any other explanation for it, yes, it could be the Mandela Effect.

If that’s a fun answer for you, or one that gives you peace of mind, that’s great. Many people will agree with you, enthusiastically.

But, if it keeps you awake at night, worrying, you should probably talk with a professional – in real life – about your concerns.

In general, don’t use news headlines or social media to self-diagnose your mental health.

I think the Mandela Effect is fascinating. It raises all kinds of questions about parallel realities and perceptions.

No two people are likely to recall the exact same events in identical ways. That’s normal.

Where this becomes fun is when multiple people – with no chance of knowing one another in real life, and perhaps separated by hundreds or thousands of miles – share similar memories.

That’s why this website was started. And it’s why the Mandela Effect continues to intrigue people.

A Fun Mandela Effect Test

This week, I discovered a quirky, fun test related to the Mandela Effect. It’s created by AlternateMemories.com.

The test is: Take the Mandela Effect Test.

a fun Mandela Effect testI took the test and my results were around 50%. I’ll attribute at least half of that score to normal mistakes.

  • Several questions were related to movies I’d never seen but knew about from ads. So, my guesses were more from pop culture than memory.
  • Some were about topics I’d studied casually, but didn’t remember clearly. Again, I was guessing.
  • Less than half of my answers were things I was certain about. Did I get them right, in this reality…? I haven’t a clue. (I didn’t double-check. As is often the case, this week is particularly busy.)

Nevertheless, I think the quiz is great fun.  I wouldn’t take the results very seriously.

In my opinion, it’s more of a great conversation starter.

After taking the test, I contacted someone at AlternateMemories.com. My questions were more rushed than tactful, as I asked him about the intent of his site.

(In the past, I’ve linked hastily to commercial sites, podcasts, and videos… and then been chagrined to discover their agendas and motivations weren’t aligned with my beliefs or what I’m doing.)

Today, the replies I received from someone at AlternateMemories.com were straightforward and more than a little witty. Frankly, I like that kind of dialogue.

Being immersed in this topic for nearly 10 years – and perhaps with tunnel vision, at this point – I’m delighted when others see fresh, new ways to explore the Mandela Effect.

So, I recommend taking the test for a few chuckles, and perhaps some “Hmm… what is the correct answer, in this reality…?” explorations.

And, as I said, I think it’s great conversation fodder.

But don’t hit the panic button if your test score shows you’re nearly 100% impacted by the Mandela Effect.

Instead, it might reflect how much you’ve tuned into pop culture, which can play fast-and-loose with facts, and deliberately misquote (or downright misrepresent) events and media, to avoid potential trademark liabilities.

 

2016 – The Tipping Point

Early in 2016, I deliberately stepped back from this website.

blue and pink nebula
Image courtesy GraphicStock.com

Part of it was the crazy workload. Moderating comments required five to six hours per day, seven days a week. That’s too much.

In addition, around April 2016, I was more-or-less asked to stop discussing the Mandela Effect topic. The general message was: my articles & conversations might be influencing the outcome of experiments that were at a critical point.

Even if those contacting me seemed official/credible – and I wasn’t sure that they were – those requests sounded… odd. Illogical.

To be honest, I’m still skeptical of that request. Then & now, I felt that the genie was already out of the bottle. Reddit and other forums were running wild with Mandela Effect speculation. The toothpaste isn’t going back into that tube.

Trying to silence any topic on the Internet…? I’m not sure if that’s hilariously funny or utterly sad.

(Btw, I’m not at Reddit. Or any forums. Or on the radio – except for a 2018 George Noory Coast to Coast AM appearance – or on TV, or in documentaries.)

But, as I’ve said, the moderation thing… it had become onerous. I didn’t need a lot of convincing to close comments, and start stepping away from this topic altogether.

I will leave the archives here.

At some point in the past year (2016), even more people realized that they shared memories that don’t fit the current, accepted version of reality.

The “tipping point” was achieved.

And now, it’s official. As of late November 2016, from mainstream media to tabloids, the concept is exploding.

Apparently, there are other realities. And, if scientists are correct, those other realities are interacting with us. (Or, we’re interacting with them… same result.)

Examples:

Express: There ARE parallel universes: Physicists state multiverses are INTERACTING

Forbes: Is There Another ‘You’ Out There In A Parallel Universe?

The West Australian: Time travel possible with multiverses interacting with one another, scientists theorise

AOL News: Scientists say time travel is possible

The Inquisitr: Parallel Universes Are Real And They Are Interacting With Our Universe, Scientists Say

The Sun: QUANTUM LEAPS – Time travellers could use parallel dimensions to visit the past, scientists claim

Over six years ago, when I started this website and our conversations began, I had no idea we’d reach this point.

But… well, here we are.

I don’t even know what to call this. A movement? An awakening? Something else altogether…?

Whatever label you want to use, the Mandela Effect is part of it, and you are, too.

At this point, I’m not sure we have to prove anything about our alternate memories. Sure, trite explanations (like “it’s all confabulation”) can be acknowledged, but now we have science on our side.

Not all of the dots connect. I realize that.

But, with the broad scale announcement that parallel realities appear to be real, and they seem to be influencing each other… we have enough confirmation to say we’re not making this up.

For now, I want to pause and celebrate. You should, as well. I feel as if everyone who’s talked about the Mandela Effect and shared alternate memories – online and off-  has been part of the tipping point that happened in 2016.

That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment.

Quantum Studies in the News – 20 Jan 2016

newspaperThis month, several slightly geeky articles raise interesting points related to quantum studies. I think those points are worth considering, in light of the Mandela Effect.

The first appeared at ComputerWeekly. I’m intrigued by the idea of consciously making business choices in the context of MWI (Many Worlds Interpretation). Author Brian McKenna has taken quantum science in a surprising direction, with applications in the business world.

However, I’m not sure we’re actually “navigating” parallel universes via those decisions. (If you can explain that to me, please do.)

The following are some key excerpts from the article.

Honey, I split the universe — quantum physics and BI

By Brian McKenna on January 20, 2016

This a guest blogpost by James Richardson, business analytics strategist, Qlik

I find solace in the many worlds interpretation (MWI) of reality. In layman’s terms, the idea, first proposed by physicist Hugh Everett in 1957, means that ‘every possible outcome of every event defines or exists in its own “history” or “world”‘.  In other words, every time an event happens the universe splits. …

So how does this relate to business intelligence (BI)? …

Here’s my logic:

1.         People use BI as a driver for decisions.

2.         Decision events split universes.

3.         Therefore BI is a tool for switching between parallel universes.

To push the logic further, if the likely decision outcome is known, BI is a tool for consciously navigating parallel universes.

Read more at: http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/Data-Matters/2016/01/honey-i-split-the-universe—-quantum-physics-and-bi.html

Do you think that your decisions — daily, unconscious ones, or even deliberate choices — affect whether or not you experience the Mandela Effect? Do those of us with alternate memories have them because we’re decision-makers… and we tend to make choices that take us outside the lock-step conformity of society and some pop culture?

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Next, I’d like to talk about Chad Orzel’s explanation in a Forbes.com article, What The Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics Really Means (Jan 5, 2016)

Early in the article, he says:

The explanation here is really that we’re constrained to only perceive a single reality at a time, and that perception is entangled with the outcome we’re seeing. [Emphasis added]

I like the emphasis on perception. It’s a little challenging to think we’re in all realities at one time, but aren’t consciously aware of it. However, I can’t rule that out as a possibility… or even a strong likelihood.

But then he says,

There’s a ‘world’ for every possible sequence of events, and these are completely separate and inaccessible to one another. [Emphasis added.]

I’m uneasy with the assumption that multiple realities are “inaccessible to one another,” unless he’s talking about a merge (or partial merge) between realities.

The Mandela Effect suggests that we can access different worlds or realities. (Of course, that’s only if you like the concept that we’re sliding between realities, as opposed to being in a holodeck or simulator.)

Read more of his article at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2016/01/05/what-the-many-worlds-interpretation-of-quantum-physics-really-means/

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And then there’s the NPR article, How Real Is Reality?, posted January 5, 2016, by Adam Frank. I’m including this excerpt because it amuses me, and — of course — he’s at least partly correct. It’s why — at this point — no one can say exactly what’s causing the Mandela Effect.

“Quantum mechanics (or ‘quantum physics’) is the body of knowledge related to the nanoworld of molecules, atoms and the component parts. It’s the most powerful and accurate theory human beings have ever, ever, ever developed. The computer you’re reading these words on now wouldn’t be possible without quantum physics. But beneath all that power is a remarkable paradox that should never be forgotten: No one knows what quantum mechanics is talking about.” [Emphasis added.]

Read more of Mr. Frank’s article at: http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2016/01/05/462010293/how-real-is-reality

If you have any thoughts about these articles, or you’ve found something interesting in the news — related to the Mandela Effect — I hope you’ll leave a comment, below.