The problem with recollecting past feelings is that when we analyze our past self we tend to attribute our current beliefs and personalities onto said past – and that “past self” may have possessed values that are greatly different from the ones we currently have.
For example, lets say that one is attempting to trace the development of their sexuality. One would try to remember when they were a child and perhaps their earliest sensations/feelings of sexuality or sex. Let’s say that a 22 year old man named X decides to do this. He remembers that, when he was five years old, he felt a sexual attraction to one of his preschool teachers.
However, the problem with this is that what if X is merely projecting his current sexual feelings onto his younger self? What I mean by this is lets say that at the time, 5 year old X was not sexually attracted to his teacher, he merely looked up to her as a sort of mother-like or parental figure, hence this would explain feelings of affection or emotion towards said teacher.
But, now when 22 year old X thinks of his teacher, he feels a sense of sexual attraction towards her. He can remember that she had an attractive body, a beautiful face and so on. The 22 year old X is sexually attracted to his teacher, but was the 5 year old X sexually attracted to his teacher? What if the 22 year old X is merely projecting his current feelings onto his younger self – feelings that were nonexistent in the 5 year old X.
Since 5 year old X did not know what sex was, and since he had not yet gone through puberty (hence he would have no hormones/sex drive), would it really be accurate to say that the 5 year old X felt sexual attraction towards his teacher? How can we be sure? Isn’t it more likely that the 5 year old X simply looked up to his teacher and felt a connection to her because she reminded him of a parent or guardian? And isn’t it likely that now the 22 year old X would project his current sexual feelings onto his younger self? I mean, when we think about feelings of our past – this can be a hard challenge.
Now, the example I gave is merely an example, please do not take it for an actual test or legitimate story. I am just asking if, when we recollect the past, are we not projecting our current feelings onto past selves? And if we do do this, then how can we ever be sure of what we felt in the past? How can we be sure that what I felt then is not what I am feeling now?