Erasing Memory

A recent story says that the ability may be in the cards in the future to erase memories.  Imagine being able to treat those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the article says.  What an ability to help someone lead a normal life.

It takes me back to that wish that we all have as we look back on our lives at moments and memories that make us what we are.  How many of us have said that we would like to go back and forget something?  It’s a standard thing to regret and want to make a better choice.  But I also think that what those unpleasant memories hold for us is a treasure trove of wisdom that you wouldn’t be able to get by reading a book.  It is these moments that help to make us who we are and what we are about.

The argument could be made that things like this could help erase trauma like the aftereffects of going to war or the effects that a woman lives with after being raped.  It’s a valid point to be made for sure, but in many of these cases, the people involved have gone on and used the negative memories to build something greater.  A woman that was raped takes her experience and helps other women who have had a similar traumatic problem.

The age old story of playing what if has a profound opposite that needs to be considered.  What happens when a memory is pulled out of your mind.  Would you just continue as the person you are, or would the memory pull with it some of the personality that you have developed?  I know some of my most profound bad memories created positive changes in my life and I wouldn’t give them up for anything because the collective choices and bad memories have made me the person that I am.

I am all for advances in technology and in medical science.  We have to be careful though that we don’t cross a line that would create more trouble than it’s worth.  The idea being that the cure is much worse than the disease itself is something that some cancer patients talk about when dealing with radiation or chemotherapy.  The same has to hold true for things like this type of research.  On the surface it sounds nice, being able to forget what you don’t like, but how far do you take it?  Let’s face it, this life is not a walk through Candyland and you will face bad things.  The thing that is important is how you respond to them.  If you have the option to forget them, then you will never grow as a person and that is ultimately not a good thing. 

History shows us that those that don’t remember their mistakes are doomed to repeat them.  What would that mean for us if we start yanking things out of our brain that we don’t like?  I say we pass on this new research.