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Tip o' the Week # 107 - Faulty Memory/Faulty Wisdom

Dear [firstname]

I have long been interested in what I call "Daysigns" - animals, plants, or anything that triggers an association that can enhance the meaning of an issue you are working on.  They can be treated exactly like a dream, or Night sign.

Great Grey Owl

Great Great Grey Owl

What word or words do you associate with the image above?  Of course, not everyone will come up with the exact same word or words, but the chances are that if you are of European extraction, "Wisdom" or its equivalent might well spring to mind.  Athena had an owl who sat on her shoulder and who whispered wisdom in her ear.  ("A little bird told me.")  As a child in America, my favourite potato chips (Brits read: crisps) was Wise Potato Chips, and their symbol was an owl.

Wise Potato Chip Owl
Owl = Wisdom
When I was a kid, the Wise logo was a full owl.
Now it has been reduced to one eye.

But if you are a Native American, an owl means danger!  Something bad is coming your way.  What you see depends upon where you sit in the circle  -  Wisdom to some is Danger to others.

And when we come to remembering things from the past, we are continuing to learn just how inacurate our memory is.  In an article in The Wall Street Journal entitled When Memory Commits an Injustice: Eyewitness mistakes lead to tragic errors in court, but new methods could help, author Jonah Lehrer tells us about how incredibly faulty our memory is, and how its accuracy decreases with time.

Lehrer writes, "The biggest lie of human memory is that it feels true. Although our recollections seem like literal snapshots of the past, they're actually deeply flawed reconstructions, a set of stories constantly undergoing rewrites."  

He then goes on to discuss how faulty memory is in court trials:  "Eye witnesses are repeatedly asked to recall what they saw, but their answers are inevitably influenced by the questions being asked. The result is more confidence in increasingly less accurate testimony.  

"Such errors often have tragic consequences. According to the Innocence Project, a legal advocacy group, about 75% of false convictions that are later overturned are based on faulty eyewitness testimony."1  !!!


This becomes a real issue when academic HISstorians write about controversial events and people in the distant past. For example, many readers of these Tips have a particular vision of the Knights Templar that might well include protectors of pilgrims along the way, magical rites, sacred geometry, and escoteric activities like finding spiritual treasure in the tunnels beneath what had been Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem.  Helen Nicholson, is a Reader in the School of History and Archaeology at Cardiff University, and author of A Brief History of The Knights Templar 2.  In the first paragraph of this book she writes, "It has been a convention of European historical writing since classical times that history should be based on written sources, preferably eyewitness sources but, if not, then written as soon after the actual event as possible.  … so modern oral myths of the Templars - supposed 'tradition' which was not actually written down until recently - will not be considered as historical evidence."

Remember that Lehrer wrote that, "…about 75% of false convictions that are later overturned are based on faulty eyewitness testimony."  Also, as far as the Templars, the designers of the great Gothic Cathedrals were concerned, they didn't write down their esoteric tradition because shorty after their termination in 1307 the Inquisition and the witch trials didn't exactly encourage carriers of this occult knowledge to write things down.  

Jacques de Molay was the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and has been a focus of much esotericism since his death.  He was burned at the stake in 1314.  Five hundred years later, an unknown man jumped on the guillotine just as Louis XVI had been decapitated and cried, "Jacques de Molay, tu es vengé!" (Jacques de Molay, you are avenged!)

 Jacques de Molay

Jacques de Molay
(from WIkipedia) 

Helen Nicholson didn't mention de Molay anywhere in her book on the Templars.

There's an old but true maxim:  HISstory is written by the victors.  As a result, in this case, so much gnowledge and wisdom is lost.

Once again, what you see depends upon where you stand.


Sig's sig

Sig Lonegren
Mid-Atlantic Geomancy
SunnyBank Centre
9, Bove Town
Glastonbury, Somerset
Great Britain  BA6 8JE



Works Cited:


1 When Memory Commits an Injustice  in the Wall Street Journal, by Jonah Lehrer (14 April, 2012) 

A Brief History of the Knights Templar by Helen Nicholson.  London: Constable & Robinson Ltd.  ISBN 978-0-7624-3848-8.


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