In Gould's essay "Some Close Encounters of a Mental Kind," Gould tries to shake our belief in the credibility of what we see or remember by offering us an experiment and an experience whereby the human mind is easily fooled. I have found through my own experience, as Gould's stated, "certainty can be both a blessing and a danger." I am entirely convinced from Gould's essay that what people perceive and remember should be received with an open mind, and to the possibility that the information recalled, may not truly reflect the experience that took place. Therefore, however difficult it may be, our goal should be to always "scrutinize our own mental certainties," and rely mostly on fact rather than memories.
In the Lotus experiment presented by Gould, the students who read Lotus' questionnaire, based on an actual video they watched, believed there were either more or less people on the tape.
Although the student's minds were very close to the actual number (8), they were off by one person. This experiment demonstrates the power of subliminal suggestions and how \witness who undergoes similar subliminal messages could be just as easily convinced. Without consciously knowing, their memories, were manipulated to produce a result other than what they actually saw.
As time passes memories get buried deep into our minds and are solidified, like concrete statues never to be challenged again. This was the case with the experience Gould recalled when he took his family to visit Devils Tower in Wyoming. Gould remembered when he was a child visiting a large tower which he remembered as Devils Tower. However the place Gould actually remembered visiting was called Scotts Bluff in Nebraska. In his mind like a concrete statue, even though he knows what Devils Tower looks like, he thinks of Devils...