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Thread: Pensieves and Emotions

  1. #1

    Pensieves and Emotions

    The memories stored in a pensieve or in vials to be later viewed in a pensieve are accurate and not tinged with emotion, at least as far I remember.

    Why is that? Particularly overtly emotional memories, it seems odd that pulling them out of your head and sticking them in something would somehow get rid of the emotions.

    If someone say, watched one of their best friends die and then stuck that memory in a vial, and someone else watched it, wouldn't that affect how the third party could see that memory?

  2. #2
    Wizengamot Hufflepuff
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    Jun 2008
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    Interesting question.

    The way I see it is that the memories stored are like memories held on a camera taking photographs, or movies. The operator of the camera may be feeling very emotional as they take a photograph of a dying soldier (or something), but you don't see the photographer's emotion, you see the emotions of the subject instead.

    I don't think the Pensieve removes emotions exactly, it's just that the memories are removed from the thinker's brain and also from the thinker's emotions.

    Harry still feels emotions as he watches Snape's memories, but he feels his own emotions, not Snape's.

    Not sure how much sense that made, but that's my take on it.


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  3. #3
    The memories stored in a pensieve or in vials to be later viewed in a pensieve are accurate and not tinged with emotion, at least as far I remember.
    I see where you're coming from. Memories are often stored with emotions. Really, they're inseparable in the way the mind processes them. However a gifted story teller Rowling is, she's a bit shoddy with anything requiring a scientific explanation (like memory storage). I would say you probably wouldn't feel how the subject of the memories felt, though, because you're watching the memories and not seeing them through the subject's eyes exactly. It's like watching a movie. You can empathize with the protagonist, but you're not watching the action unfold from their point of view because you're watching the action happen to them. Does that make sense?

    I think maybe the pensive was intended to allow the viewer to reflect without emotions, too. Maybe the pensive translates a very personal experience that happened to you and replays it to you so you can watch it from an outsider's point of view. So I would essentially say no emotions.

  4. #4
    There are theories about the brain that say humans "record" (for lack of a better term) everything, but it's only emotional association that creates lasting memories - we mentally revisit the memories we have a strong emotional attachment to more than ones we have no emotional connection with, so we end up better remembering events like weddings, funerals, birthdays, etc., but can't recall with vivid accuracy having our Coco Pops last Tuesday. In the real world, this theory ties in to things like memory regression and the "photographic" recall of autistic savants, but I don't see it as being very illogical to say that a Pensieve can access only the "recording" of a memory and leave the emotion out of it. Like MorganRay said, the Pensieve was probably designed specifically to get an emotionless reflection of a past experience - emotionless memories are a feature, not a bug.

  5. #5
    Hm... so if pensieves are designed to be emotionless... the next question is how?

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