Oh, the Mistaken Forgetters!

A TYPE ONE error is when you believe something you shouldn’t.  A TYPE TWO error is when you fail to believe something you should.  If you think homeopathy cures the common cold, you are committing a type one error.  If you don’t believe that fluorides guards against dental caries, you are committing a Type Two error.

You could say that a dog has evolved to avoid Type Two errors — the dog wants above all to avoid failing to eat something that could be food.  A cat has evolved to avoid Type One errors — the cat is concerned to avoid eating something that could be non-food.  You might think that certain men are concerned with avoiding type two errors — they want to avoid failing to sleep with someone whom they should sleep with, while certain women are more concerned with avoiding type one errors — they want to avoid sleeping with someone whom they shouldn’t sleep with.   It doesn’t matter what you think about men, women, dogs, or cats — they may not even exist in your world by the time you are reading this.  I just want to get clear on the difference between Errors of Type One (believing the lie) and those of Type Two (disbelieving the truth).

As we fall off to sleep we are faced with memories, records of the events of the day.   Can we remember everything that happened today, tomorrow?   No we cannot, for an interesting reason.  If the past was as present to our minds as the present is, we would not be able to respond to the present.  Imagine that I ate the bread in the cupboard today.  Tomorrow when I wake up and the cupboard is bare, I must set off in search of new bread.   But if my brain makes my memory of today’s bread a present experience tomorrow then I will not seek out bread tomorrow.  Sated with memories I will starve.

So my brain (and its buddies my peripheral nerves and sense organs) must make a choice: what to remember and what to forget?  I met so many people today — real people, people I read about and people I imagined, people I glimpsed in a crowd.  Who will pile into the rowboat that is my continuing life.  Who will be left behind on the shore?  My brain must choose of all the people and all the facts that it encountered.  Who will join me.

Sometimes I will make a Type One Mistake — I will remember a fact or person whom I would do well to forget.

Sometimes as I lay me, I will make a Type Two Mistake — I will forget a fact or person I should have remembered!

This is a prayer for forgiveness against my High True Self whom I have offended by my false forgetting!

And not just at the moment of sleep!  Because, remember, remember!  I am spread out across the world, and messengers come from all sides, from all locations, racing inwards with the news (the knews!) of what I Must Know, What I Must Feel, What must hurt me and what from which I feel pleasure, all these dispatches and warnings and presentiments and letters and emails and pronunciamentos in the languages of Flowers and Bees, tales and poems and philosophies and allegories and data — all trying to get into the courtyard where I converse in quietness with myself — they are all trying to get to me and most of them I keep out with good reason, and some of them I let in with good reason, but some of them horribly are what I need to hear and they never make it to me.

Forgive me, forgive me!


2 thoughts on “Oh, the Mistaken Forgetters!

  1. Speaking of men and women (per your previous post), it’s difficult to top Hamlet:
    “Soft you now!
    The fair Ophelia! Sweet nymph, in thy orisons
    Be all my sins remember’d.”

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