Losing is not fun at all, be it in games or in life in general. But just because we don’t like something doesn’t mean we can always choose not to experience it either. So no matter how much hate you harbor for all those moments when you can’t locate your key, for example when you lose it or, more accurately, misplace it or the different definition of losing, you sulk after every season without win from your favorite team, the fact that you will still have to deal with this event of the same name manifests itself in all universality.
Of course, the fact that none of us is alone in this heady mess might seem to provide some comfort. After all, such memory lapses are natural in their occurrence for almost everyone. But even in such universality, these turn out to be quite personal experiences that we all deal with, albeit independently. However, it also claims a different form of cognitive irregularity that is more intriguing in how unrealistic it is. Even when it may sound a bit strange, a certain awareness of what we have definitely prevails, not so much as a decrease in memory as a total change of it that gives it the identity of being ‘false memories’ and also in a statement that It’s as real as it could be.
Specifically within this realm of counterfeiting another even more perplexing possibility is expressed. The Mandela Effect is what it is called, and as a term coined ‘in memory of’ Nelson Mandela, of course, it presents a fascinating account of some shared realities. The emergence is attributed to paranormal researcher Fiona Broome, who named it after an inadvertent experience of personal occurrence. What wouldn’t be as personal as Broome would discover in some wonder that would essentially carry over into the world, however, is something that tends to be a case of false memories made more “stimulating” because of the scale on which it occurs.
This scale of mention and measurement on which the Mandela Effect is escalating is of an all-encompassing universality. The iteration is one of collective false memories that is almost a stupefying prospect of how so many of us around the world conjure up the exact same non-existent image of something and believe in its authenticity for as long as possible, exclusively independent of each other and still harboring that same established idea of how things are, even when they’re not conspicuously fake at all.
To elucidate and elaborate exactly what the Mandela effect is, it is not even necessary to explore another extension. Recalling that certain speech from 2010 in which Broome pointedly brought up the ‘fact’ that the anti-apartheid activist and former South African president had died in the 1980s of which she had ‘vivid and detailed’ recollections and this mysterious effect would be of a totally different essence. Given that, of course, Mandela would die only decades later, in 2013, and as would be standard for someone considered a global icon, there would be no way that at least one false report of his death would prevail. And yet, despite the utter improbability of its happening, this narrative of Nelson Mandela’s death would be bought by more than enough people than one would reasonably allow.
By Broome’s own account, there have been thousands of people like her who had considered the Nobel Peace Prize winner long dead. In fact, this instance of false reality would be one of the most common cases in which the effect has found a collective identity. Yet other common examples abound, each only further reiterating and authenticating the paradoxical falsity of a truth that never was. However, scientists do not attest to the rarity of such phenomena, citing obvious factors from fake news reports and misleading images to direct them. Even similar cognitive factors that affect different individuals in the same way could be explanations behind this otherwise disturbing interpretation of reality.
The banality of the operation of the Mandela effect does not produce at all -somewhat ironically- an effect of what the most ordinary, or rather more personal, cases of false memory do. We can often be puzzled by such a discovery of uniform composition, even agitated by them and we might as well shake our heads in disbelief when we learn of such ‘suspicious’ possibilities that are proclaimed to be real. However, the more real and ordinary scheme of memory falsification does not satisfy us in the same way.
Instead, what we express is frustration and disappointment and phrases of discontent of swearing that we remember with no less vividness, of having left the keys to the door hanging on the hook in the corridor where it is most conveniently accessible. And yet we discover them naked and saucy on the kitchen counter, much to our horror sparked by speculation that our memory no longer provides us with the support it used to. We carefully study whether this is an early sign of dementia appearing in our person, which, to be fair, is not entirely unjustified, since such cases of false memory and forgetfulness are not quite rare either.
But what it does work to a greater degree is to what extent they annoy us for the inconvenience they cause. Imagine having to search for your ID in the middle of all that dreaded morning madness and you can’t resist berating yourself exaggeratedly for never being able to do things right. God forbid this is a liability incurred by your partner and all hell breaks loose when you clamor to regain your sanity and belongings, all at that very delicate moment. But such is life and this time unfolding in the starkest and most real reds of what it’s like to trudge along its path.
However, do not worry about the adaptability that humans have come to practice as a form of evolution that has also led us to devise ways, means, tips and tricks to circumvent such anomalies of existence. Training the brain to remember things is not a new advance and one only needs to rewire their consciousness as they move through the stages of life for their memory maturity to rule.
If you are someone who is very prone to this losing bet, it becomes strategically important to recognize why you experience them so often. Once you’re sure it’s not a pre-set or developing condition that’s keeping you out of trouble more often than you can accept, the focus should be on exactly that: staying focused. Daily acts and events mostly stop registering due to the little importance with which we approach them. That’s part of the account where lost and found cases abound as an integral part of human existence around the world.
Not finding yourself in this mess of lost and found can be easy with a little initial effort. You could try saying it out loud where you’re putting the keys while performing the act itself. Or you could devise a scheme of things in which you associate one thing with another so that you come to placing your glasses on the study table as a routine after an initial period of mindful practice. This would be particularly effective as the glasses tend to be close to the reading requirements, so you’ll follow the recall effortlessly.
Visualization is another wonderful way to make sure your memories aren’t being falsely expressed, at least beyond the enigmatic Mandela effect. It is always easier to conjure up images in your mind and trust them to track the original exercise, so that you inevitably land in the exact place where you had imagined yourself at the time of the act.
And for things like your phone, which universally occurs as one of the most popular misplaced items, the fix is even easier. With tons of apps available that let you track the phone’s location, usually for more serious and distant cases, but working perfectly even in less remote settings, this version of the disappearing act shouldn’t be so much something corresponding to the quirky nostalgia of a lost forever.
This ordinary narrative of losing as in the loss of things is not always as emotional an experience as what the other sense of the term provokes. It’s not even close to exciting, as the Mandela allusion definitely elicits a certain surprise, a certain paranormality. Sometimes considered as indicative of the existence of a parallel reality, this Mandela effect, understood in this way, is one of the pop culture references that most emerges from fairyland. ‘Mirror mirror on the wall’ might encapsulate some of our most memorable memories passed down through Snow White’s storytelling. Realizing that it is actually a “magic mirror on the wall” seems to us like a lie that we have gone through our entire childhood. The fact that nobody perpetrated this lie in the first place only aggravates the character of false reality that the Mandela effect encompasses in all its collective and cohesive consciousness.