Remembering and The Experiencing Self

I have a question for you.

What if your travel agent offers you a deal?

To visit any place of your choice for 10 days at 70% discount but on one condition;

  • You will not be allowed to click a single picture or retain any proof of that vacation. 

Will you still take it?

If you are like the majority, chances are you will decline.

The reason psychologists give for such a behaviour is that, this type of vacation will only satisfy one part of our brain, the Experiencing self but with nothing for the Remembering Self to ruminate about later on.

We as human beings crave to go for a vacation or visit a new place, but more than enjoying it, we spend most of it creating proofs of the great time we have had.

Look around and you can easily differentiate between a tourist and a local.  A tourist can be easily identified with her efforts at creating as many memories as possible, even if it implies compromising on the experience temporarily.

A lot of times we become a tourist in our own life focusing on accumulating memories than actually living them.

We concentrate more on clicking pictures and buying souvenirs for our self and our loved ones, so we could remember what a great holiday we have had, instead of enjoying the time, soaking in the water, speaking to the locals, tasting the food, feeling the breeze, enjoying a sunset and a sunrise.

We tend to ignore to feel the soft powdery sand as we walk, beneath our feet, the sound of the birds waking us up early in the morning, witnessing the dew drop on the leaves about to fall down and the cute expressions of a dog as we move across him.

We fail to notice all this, while remaining cocooned inside our slavish mindset of hoarding as many memories as possible.

Too many selfies can lead to a ruined experience, though compensated by our own hindsight bias we just remember the happy faces forcing ourselves to believe an experience we have never had.

Unless you are a photographer whose passion and love are for the clicks, just go for it, else, sit back, relax, hold and enjoy the moment.

One may have lesser proofs but a much better and wholesome experience.

I personally detest selfies and after a few treks, realized how I messed up my own experience of enjoying it by trying to capture to many pictures. 

The last trek of mine hardly has any pictures of me, as I submitted to the request of others to click theirs while my own personal clicks were of the mountains and forest as I tried enjoying their magnanimity in the splendid sun and a never-ending snowfall.

And, yes, I don’t want to disregard the remembering self completely as that plays an important role as we get older and wish to relieve the time gone by. 

So, don’t stop carrying your camera, but be mindful of what you wish to do, enjoy that delicacy on your plate or post a picture of it on social media because someone else also did the same.

If you wish to read more on these two selves, do read ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman.  I have borrowed heavily from his book.

That’s one book I can read umpteen number of times, having already read it thrice.

And do share, which one are you biased towards – Remembering Self or the Experiencing Self.

Here’s the link;

21 thoughts on “Remembering and The Experiencing Self

  1. पर्यटक कुछ ज़्यादा शहर को पसंद कर लेते हैं,अपने साथ भर ले जाने को और स्थानीय निवासी कुछ इतना कम शहर को तवज्जो देते हैं कि अपनी ज़िम्मेदारियों के घेरे में रहते हैं… संतुलन थोड़ा मिलना मुश्किल पाना मुश्किल हो जाता है 🙂 reflective writeup 👌.. introspection ki need sabhi ko

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes you are right point raised well, we do most of holidays just to update on social media, holidays are not holidays but we are focusing on our bucket list which we have to finish. I am amazed to see the travel packages of Europe where you travel 5 to 6 countries in 10 days and people avail and sometimes I am confused how is it possible but now after your this post I got my answer. Thank you
    Stay safe happy healthy and wealthy

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s absolutely true, we try to feed our remembering self, leaving the experiencing part aside leading to shallow experiences. Deeper and meaningful life would require to balance the two.
      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your insightful thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are right we get so engrossed in capturing the moment on camera that we forget to enjoy the actual moment. Sometimes its feel like people do trips to post about it on Instagram.

    Beside the question that you have asked. I would ready to go for such trip. Because on my last trek we have actually taken very less photos and rather concentrated on soaking the whole experience through our eyes and mind.

    Please let me know if anyone is actually giving 70% discount😂🙈

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Just a question, you mentioned with your example, that only the one side of your brain would benefit, the experiencing self and not the remembering self. But how can one experience without remembering? To remember is to experience, to experience is to remember. To me, you can not have one without the other.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for this question and I am glad you read it so deeply. I was trying to focus on the two parts of our brain which become active during different times.

      While we are engaged in an activity, deeply involved, the experiencing self is the one which is active. Let’s say you are watching a beautiful sunset immersed in it completely, experiencing the changing hues in the sky as soft breeze refreshes your skin.

      Now, the remembering self is that part which is looking at collecting proofs, so you can remember how great the sunset was. e.g clicking a picture of it or asking someone to click your picture with the sun, so you can see it later and remember the beautiful memory you have had and it is perfectly fine to do that, but when we overindulge, we loose on the experience part as the focus changes to creating a stronger memory for a later time which deprives us from enjoying the moment.

      I hope i have been able to explain it, if I am not (I am not good at this), you can also refer to this part in Daniel Kahneman’s – Thinking Fast and Slow.

      You have a great day ahead and thank you again for sharing your thoughts!!


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