Memory Is Fallacious

About the Artwork

“I made this ink sketch in 1971, a year before starting medical school, to record a turn in the road in Vermont that I found beautiful. When I had time to color it in, in 2022, I realized that my vivid memory of how pretty the scene looked must have been modified by all the years between, so that the finished work represents not what I saw but what I recall. That difference is relevant to how the brain works, and to how history can mislead as well as inform. Hippocrates’ famous aphorism that starts ars longa, vita brevis (art is long, life is short) adds that experience is slippery, and this is part of the why.”

Henry Schneiderman is a semiretired internist, palliative-care physician, geriatrician and pathologist who writes poetry and draws in addition to teaching medicine, physical diagnosis and the interface between literature and medicine. He has contributed to Pulse before.

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