Freeday 17 December 1999


Pic of the day: No, I have not bought new and thinner glasses. It's just that in one picture I am wearing them, in the other not. I then combined the two pictures digitally (making no other changes). The slightly blurred outline of my body refers to a gold-brown jersey (or some such) which is present in one picture but not in the other. The rest of the room is also out of focus, because the two pictures do not align completely except for one part - my facial expression, which is the same.

Am I who I am?

On one of the diary-related mailing lists, there has been a heated debate lately about whether or not a couple of journallers are real. Evidence and counter-evidence have been hurled both ways, while people on the side lines either cheer the various parties on or say "Who cares? Who cares?"

Fake journals definitely exist. In the community there still lives the legend of Ophelia, a fictional character whose diary was written for months if not years by a certain Ryan. The fictional Ophelia was, if I got this right, one of the founding mothers of the online journalling community (such as it is).

I doubt that anybody will ever consider my journal to be a fake. Partly because if it was, I would still need to have this 10% overweight middle aged male hanging around for my photographing convenience, which would make me my wife or lover or live-in or some such; the photographs themselves attest to the improbability of this, I am sorry to say. No, if I'm worried about anything in this respect, it is that no one may care if I exist or not.


In the latest Psychology Today (the December issue) there is a scary article about reinventing ourselves. It seems that most people are able change their past, some very easily, to the point where a fake memory is just as vivid as a real one. Test persons were asked to imagine a reasonable but not real event from their childhood. (Relatives were consulted to make sure this was not a real event.) Some time later they were interviewed again, and quite a few of the test persons had now a clear memory of the event and insisted that it had indeed happened.

Oops. I just reread the article, and it turns out that the imagining was several weeks after they had first rated the event as real or not. Then they rated the event again, now more likely to believe it was real. Nor was there any mention of relatives in this experiment. Ahem. I'm sure I remember reading about those family members somewhere ...


I've seen quite a bit of blatant rewriting of the past. The probably best opportunity is when you study people in the process of divorce or a similar breakup. Losing one's religion is another great event for rewriting the past. So is conversion or even revival.

Apart from all this, you may have noticed how some people are different depending on where you meet them. They may be two completely different persons at work or at home, for instance. Or when sober and when drunk.

Even if we don't have Multiple Personality Disorder (or whatever is politically correct this year), we seem to have room for a lot of inconsistency. Our reality is not quite fixed. We cannot in truth say as the God of the burning bush said to Moses: "I am who I am."


In utterly unrelated news, I dreamt this night about shining globes of burning gas or plasma or some such, about as large as a handball, and hovering just above the ground. There were lots of them, and they shone with a yellow light. Also featured in the dream were Rune-Kristian Viken and Arnt-Richard Johansen, formerly of the Norwegian BBS network YouthNet (not related to the organization at all). ARJ's spy video equipment had caught me in the Stavanger Cathedral ("Domkirke" in Norwegian) and he published the corny photos on the Internet. Oh well.

In national news, the Telenor/Telia fusion seems to be irreparably broken. The opposition parties clamor for blood, but agree on nothing except that it is a bad thing (which it is not).

Rainy day, starry night. Strong winds blow.

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