A Sidetrack: On Repetition and Originality

2개월 전

Simple Fact: When you blog or tell stories about life, you'll inevitably end up repeating yourself, now and then.

However, repeating something doesn't automatically suggest that it isn't original.


Being in the mental health field, clients repeat themselves all the time, particularly when they are in long term counseling. It's not unusual for someone to say "I don't remember whether I mentioned this before, but _____"

The human memory is a funny and often mysterious device!

Even when we have very powerful and memorable experiences, if you ask someone to tell you about a specific event... maybe a couple of years apart... chances are that there will be material differences between each telling. That's how memory works.

It's also why someone who's been writing a blog or weekly column for ten years very likely has covered the same topic multiple times. Not because they are deliberately copying themselves, but because they sincerely don't remember what they wrote previously.


The reason behind this that when it comes to major life events or strong memories, we keep certain things in active memory while much of the event lies beneath our conscious awareness. As a result, we might remember a certain event because "it happens to be raining" one month, and the next month we think about it because we unexpectedly met someone who was present at the original event.

Because the memory triggers are different, we don't remember clearly whether we told the original story previously.

That's a very different experience from consciously recycling old ideas.

What brings this little "sidetrack post" to the table is my own fear that I may not remember whether or not I have written about some of these concepts previously. So please forgive me, if it sounds like I am repeating myself!

Thanks for looking, and Bright Blessings to all!

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