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Movie Quote Monday – Total Recall

Matthias:  The past is a construct of the mind.

This is a MQM first, but I haven’t actually seen Total Recall; what I saw was a couple of Faithgeeks videos discussing the movie and the questions it made them ask. Like last week’s Blade Runner, it was based on a story by Philip K. Dick and takes on some similar themes about humanity. Pretty interesting stuff! Of course, you guys know I think everything is interesting.

Here’s Clay:


So, questions:

What does it mean to be human? At essence, what are we?

Does the past really matter to who we are today?

Can we even trust our memories of the past?

Clay: “Who we are is not dictated by who we’ve been. We should be careful to not let the past rob us of our present.”


Here’s Karl’s response to Clay:



If given the chance, would I add false memories or alter existing ones?

Have I moved on from my past mistakes?

Am I too focused on the future?

Karl: “I’m not defined by my past. I’m not defined by my character defects.”


We have discussed many of these questions and thoughts already over the last almost two years here at the blog, and pretty much always come to those same conclusions: that the past informs who we are but does not confine us to a specific destiny.

What I don’t remember talking about very much is how accurate our memories are. I consider conversations my sister and I have had about our childhood and how much our memories can differ. Certainly some of that is due simply to our individual perspectives. But I know that many of my memories have either magnified or mellowed with time. Or flat out changed. If my views of myself, other people and the experiences we shared are based on memories that I have “constructed” in a way that best suits me, then what does that mean for my present? 

I think it boils down to what Clay and Karl are basically saying: we shouldn’t let our memories of the past completely define who we are today. Further, I would say that we need to cut other people some slack as well and not judge them solely by our memories of their past. I know I continue to see some people in terms of who they were, refusing to take into consideration who they may be now or give them credit for who they are trying to be for the future. But then, I do the same thing to myself.

I do believe that “the past is a construct of the mind,” because it’s power lies in how we choose to view it. 

What are your thoughts on all this?


You’ve met Clay before, here and here. He blogs at and that’s his book over there on the sidebar. I don’t know anything about Karl, but I already like him. Faithgeeks is basically those guys talking to each other, but they do it on video and strangers get to comment. Hmm. Anyway, you can like Faithgeeks on their Facebook page and subscribe to them on their YouTube channel. I think it’s going to be an interesting ride with these two at the wheel, but then I like goofy people who make me think.


Items of Interest:

How Our Brains Make Memories

Study Finds Memories Can Change With Each Recall

Peer Pressure Can Change Your Memories


4 Comments Post a comment
  1. I think we alter our memories to suit our needs, our opinions, etc. For example, if we form an opinion of a person, then we might read more into what s/he says, and then remember a skewed version of the person. Whenever we quote him, we’ll do it with a little bit of garnish, which comes from out opinion of him.
    So in a way, our memories, which influence our present, were themselves influenced by our past. Indirectly, our past influences our present. That doesn’t mean we cannot break free of it, but that without significant effort, we fall for it again and again. And sadly enough, most of us don’t realize it enough to put in the required effort.

    February 4, 2013
    • Yay! That’s exactly what I was thinking about, but this post was getting too long, so I didn’t go all the way down that path. But that’s what was on my mind! You won’t believe this (because it’s so rare, haha), but I’ve got nothing else to say – you said just what I was thinking 🙂

      February 17, 2013
  2. This topic of memory and the past reminds me of the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Have you seen it? If you could erase certain memories from your past, would you?

    February 4, 2013
    • I haven’t seen that – it’s one of those movies that I always meant to see, but just never got around to it. I would not erase any of my memories, and I’m with Clay on not wanting false memories either. We’ve talked about regret and all that stuff before, and even with things that I wish I had done differently, I wouldn’t want to not know about them.

      Okay, actually, there are a couple of things that I wouldn’t mind not remembering – now that I think about it. But I still wouldn’t let anyone tamper with my mind in any way, one way or the other, for fear that they’d mess something up, or just mess with me in general.

      Would you?

      February 17, 2013

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