The truth, as we currently know it, is far different. Memory has several problems. Daniel Schacter in his easily read book, The Seven Sins of Memory, lists these sins as: transience, absent mindedness, blocking, misattribution, suggestibility, bias and permanence.
I know these will seven will be puzzling. But don't worry you can find a review of Schacter's classic and definitive book on FR: HERE.
I wrote the book review on Schacter after witnessing the problems dealing with the Libby case. The judge refused to allow expert testimony in this case. If he had Libby might have walked since his was a virtual classic case of a memory failure by virtue of missatribution. He essentially, attributed something he heard in the White House to a journalist (Tim Russert). For this he was convicted of perjury.
In respect to Hillary I do believe she has a variety of problems-transience(forgetting) plus suggestibility and misattributing a heard to an actual event. Not an excuse for her considering her position, but surely not a calculated lie as many have decided.
Incidentally, I could go on and on about how and why people tell war stories. I won't. But do remember true traumatic war time events persist in one one's memory. They are never repressed and the best treatment is to distract yourself and count on some level of attenuation of affect associated with the persistent memory. I know this the direct opposite of what happens and did happen in VAH hospitals I worked at; however, the well done psychological literature would affirm that approach. Beides working at VAH my DEROS was 17 May 1969.
Memory, like everything else about us is really complex, multifaceted and open to continuous revision depending on empirical studies.
Below are some quotes from Schacter:
"...As I showed in my earlier book, Searching For Memory, we tend to think of memories as snapshots from family albums that, if stored properly, could be retrieved in precisely the same condition in which they were put away. But now we know that we do not record our experiences the way a camera records them. Our memories work differently. We extract key elements from our experiences and store them. We then recreate or reconstruct our experiences rather than retrieve copies of them. Sometimes, in the process of reconstructing we add our feelings, beliefs or even knowledge we obtained after the (memory) experience. In other words, we bias our memories of the past by attributing to them emotions or knowledge we acquired after the event .
"...Thousands of experiments have demonstrated the truth of the above paragraph:
"...Memory is adapted to retain information that is most likely to be needed in the environment in which it operates. (page 191) Since we seldom need to remember all the precise sensory and contextual details of every experience; memory is designed and produces that information which might be later needed.
The most horrific of mistakes of memory are not those listed above but the concept of "repressed memories." I won't discuss this, but if you are interested merely Google "Elizabeith Loftus."
That said thank you for the thoughtful post.
Thanks for your post, which is interesting. As primary caregiver of my late mother, I saw her memory break down over time from Alzheimer's, and realized that we do not remember everything but rather we reconstruct what we need or want to know from what we do remember - thus opening the door as you say to the corruption of earlier memories with inputs from a later time.
The example which sticks in my mind is when she told my doctor of long standing that she had always been his patient and that I had not - the reverse of the situation since I had brought her to my house in a different state from her home in order to take care of her. And, obviously, there was no possibility that that was a lie, since there was not the slightest possibility of deceiving my doctor about that. It was simply a symptom of the failure of her memory system. She didn't simply not recall at all, she "recalled" what was directly contrary to reality.
But with all due respect I don't think that relevant to Mrs. Clinton, whose extensive record of "convenient memory syndrome" is crystal clear. Dalrymple has it right:Being under fire is not like the details of a trivial conversation you had five years ago: it is not easily forgotten. If she were not lying, therefore, it would mean that her inability to distinguish truth from fiction would be almost total. This is a far more dangerous quality in a potential president than mere lying.I suspect (though I cannot prove) that Clinton shares with the former prime minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair, that modern psychopathological symptom: the delusion of honesty. A delusional belief is impervious to reason or evidence. In societies like Britain and the United States, once steeped in Judeo-Christian culture, such convictions become common when a belief in Original Sin finds itself replaced by a belief in Original Virtueparticularly ones own."A belief in Original Virtueparticularly ones own" strikes me as a perfect definition of "leftism." Lying is simply the logical conclusion of the belief that the end justifies the means, and just about any means is justified if it means assuring the empowerment of your own inherent virtue.