An excellent article. I’ve been aware of the unreliability of perception and memory for many years but it’s incredibly difficult to get others to accept the notion. The entertainment industry does the entire world a massive disservice by continually using the trope that memory is like a video recorder: capturing with fidelity and replaying with 100% accuracy. It’s astonishing that we still accept eyewitness testimony in criminal proceedings and it’s troubling that ordinary people have no idea how unreliable our impressions are.

As for agreeing on a narrative, I think you’re far closer to the truth when you write about unreliable narratives: I suspect there’s very little social agreement on anything that really did (objectively) occur because this would be complex and not easily reduced to the simple tales our brains prefer; false narrative on the other hand always has the virtue of being exceedingly simple.

So hey, where was Obama when those Muslims were dancing in the streets as the first plane hit twin towers…?

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.