The movie Memento features the strange story of Leonard Shelby, a man who cannot form new short-term memories after a traumatic injury. Leonard relies on a bizarre system of record-keeping to remember who he is and what his goals are. He gets by with a little help from his friends, but his “friends” may be lying to him and manipulating him to serve their own agendas. Moreover, Leonard may even be lying to himself. All of these lies have consequences, sometimes fatal.
In many ways, we are all like Leonard Shelby, relying on inaccurate and incomplete memories and historical records to construct our narratives that help us to understand who we are and what we’re about. And of course, that makes us susceptible to deception from others and even from ourselves.
Maybe we are what we remember, for better or worse? So how do we make the most of our lives, given those limitations? And how do we minimize our risk of being conned?
If you haven’t seen Memento — or if you haven’t seen it recently — I highly recommend it. It is a classic and definitely one of Nolan’s best (maybe even the best, though Inception could also take that title). You can stream it for free on Tubi: https://tubitv.com/movies/100007690/memento
Here is the Wikipedia article about Memento: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memento_(film)
And in case you’re interested, here is the Wikipedia article on Anterograde Amnesia, the condition that afflicts Leonard Shelby: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anterograde_amnesia
If you’re listening to this on a podcast app or streaming platform, be sure to subscribe and join the discussion in the comment section at https://aghostinthemachine.substack.com/p/you-are-what-you-remember! Thanks for listening!
A Ghost in the Machine is a reader (and listener) supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.