I've been over at Out Of Darkness reading The False Memory Monster Elsie Conner's response to Steven Ross Pomeroy's Scientific American blog How to Instill False Memories and this's my response.
Elsie might I suggest the scientific terminolgy appropriate to Steven Ross Pomeroy's observations is he's talking complete bollocks.
What he's trying to do is renew Carl Sagan's old attempt to discard problematical accounts of high strangeness by reestablishing and retrenching the idea certain people're highly susceptible to memory implantation but what him and the late Carl Sagan seem incapable of realising is how much what passes for memory in ordinary life is also pure implantation.
For instance if they're anything like most of the rest of humanity the reason Sagan and Pomeroy believe that's what their names are's because once upon a time two pairs of complete strangers introduced themselves to them when they were born claiming to be their parents and telling them their names were Carl Sagan and Steven Ross Pomeroy.
And maybe they were their parents but then again can they or indeed any of us really be sure because in Argentina for instance a huge number of kids raised during the Seventies by their fascist ruling class parents as haters of leftists and leftist political causes're only now finding out not only their real parents were leftist freedom fighters but their fascist upbringers were implicated in their real parents tortures and murders and now those poor bastarding kids're as confused as hell because they're realising their entire lives were effectively implanted fairy tales meaning they no longer know or have a sense of who they really are or what truth even is.
In other words everyone of us including Carl Sagan and Steven Ross Pomeroy from the moment we're born goes along with various stories we're fed and continue doing so until the moment we die unless some critical detail emerges which suddenly slams on the breaks forcing us to realise everything we thought we knew were only implanted beliefs.
At this point Pomeroy and the ghost of Sagan rush forward and claim oh but that has no bearing on everything else because we all know Darwin and Einstein existed blah blah blah but you try telling that to them Argentinians who now find themselves questioning the whole of reality.
And the truth is we don't know Einstein or Darwin existed because we never met them or interacted with them. The only reason we know about them in the first place's because someone told us about them in my case the very same people who actually claimed they made me before calling me alan but I only have their word for any of that.
And the reason any of that implanting's even possible's because we actually have several different memory systems which for simplifications purposes boil down to three basic forms 1) real experiential or 'video' memory which's where we actually recall or even reexperience memories on a sensorial basis ie a certain waft of scent evokes scenes of that dreamy student who took our fancy that first night at the freshers' ball or that strange smell which suddenly conjures up images of how gran'ma's legs'd abruptly burst apart and her eyes'd roll in opposite directions whenever she reached the stage where she'd drunk too much hair lacquer mixed with Toilet Duck and
2) list memory which isn't related to real memory at all but is dedicated to theoretical constructs we assemble for memorising routines like learning times tables or protocols for operating computers or cars until our third type of memory can kick in
3) physical or bodily [or as it's also been called zombie] memory which's the capacity of our bodies to learn to operate or function independently of our minds providing us with 'reflexes' that catch objects before we've even noticed they've been knocked over and removing the need to keep having to recall how to drive or even pay as much attention anymore to driving our cars enabling us to concentrate on ogling any totty in nearby vehicles as well as discuss via our mobiles why that new My Bloody Valentine album's so utterly amazing/complete crap.
So when Steven Ross Pomeroy talks about planting memories that's what he's really refering to type 2 memory list memory which not only isn't real memory but isn't even that easy to implant otherwise we'd all learn everything instantly.
But just in case Steven Ross Pomeroy himself's really as suggestible as he supposes others to be I beseech anyone who's known him 5 or more years to start implanting false memories in him.
Maybe that way he might get an inkling what it was like until only recently to have 'experts' like him go round asserting only suggestible fools would imagine there really was such a thing as synesthesia enabling them to 'see' sounds or 'hear' colours or for that matter homosexuality was anything more than a product of a fevered imagination because even if a form of it really had existed once upon a time the inherent impossibility of progeny meant Evolution would've quickly selected it out of existence therefore claiming to see members of the same sex as being sexually attractive's just another form of seeing things and therefore as delusional as believing men from Mars kidnap you.