Mass Hysteria

“My Lie”: Why I falsely accused my father – Memoirs – Salon.com

As reports of molestation increase, you begin to believe you too were molested. And as reports of false memory increase, you realize that you were not, in fact, molested.

It’s a little embarrassing for a person who’s always been thought of as a critical thinker. There’s a lot about writing this book and putting it out there that’s embarrassing.

This interview illustrates the difference between someone who actually thinks and someone who just criticizes “the establishment” because some other people are doing it.

One thing I’ve learned is the relevance of the phrase “the perfect storm.” Not only for me, but for a lot of women I know who made these false accusations, it was very much a social phenomenon. Metaphorically, everything we were saying was true. But there was a confusion between a metaphor and a fact.

Confusion is typical of people who believe that “ideas have consequences.” The idea of patriarchal oppression didn’t cause anything. These women’s motivations caused them to search for an excuse to be angry; they found their rationalization in the feminist metaphor and then made up some memories to go along. That worked because memories, like dreams, actually are metaphors, not exact representations of reality.

I felt a little stupid when I started interviewing the neuroscientists about how I could be dreaming something if it never happened. One of the doctors basically said, duh, a dream is a dream. It’s not reality. It’s not like something had to happen in actuality for you to dream about it. . . .

The important thing to remember is that the crowd is always wrong. Even when they’re right, they’re wrong.

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