TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › No Memory...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

No Memory...

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I was watching This American Life on Showtime last night and a debate that is now raging in our house popped up. Basically, two Scientists discovered the chemical that is the way the brain stores memory. By removing the chemical all memory is erased. Now, upon this realization they published a paper detailing their findings. Then they started to get letters from people that wanted their memory erased. Most had experienced trauma and extreme PTSD.

Now, IMO this would be grossly irresponsible to muck around in someone's memory. Even thought I've seen things that are better off forgotten it still makes me who I am.

My husband thinks that if the trauma was so bad then it should be allowed.

What do you think?

Here's a clip about it... hit the "No Memory" part. WARNING! There may be adult language and images of animal testing! If that upsets you don't click on the link!

http://www.sho.com/site/thisamericanlife/episodes.do
post #2 of 22
All memory is erased? That's the rub with me. Wouldn't there have to be a complete re-education - as if they were an infant? Remember the Star Trek episode where Nomad erases all of Uhura's memories?

It could be great if they could be selective.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gemlady View Post
All memory is erased? That's the rub with me. Wouldn't there have to be a complete re-education - as if they were an infant? Remember the Star Trek episode where Nomad erases all of Uhura's memories?

It could be great if they could be selective.
See... even if they could be selective I wouldn't be for it either. I think that editing your past would be a bit scary.
post #4 of 22
Very sci-fi. I think it's amazing that there's even the possibility of being able to do this. How selective could they be though? That's a huge risk to take.
post #5 of 22
I suppose I can kind of understand why someone might want this, especially in cases where people are so irrevocably damaged by what they've experienced that they are unable to function. On the other hand, my memories -- even the really horrific ones -- are what make me me and as much as I might dislike some of the things I remember, I wouldn't want to lose part of myself.
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
See... even if they could be selective I wouldn't be for it either. I think that editing your past would be a bit scary.
I don't. I know my daughter would love to not have to remember what it was like for her former boyfriend to cut her throat.

And victims of rape or other brutal crimes might like to have those memories removed. Heck, I'd like to forget delivering my daughter, and that was 23 years ago - talk about traumatic - try a 36 hour labor!

Our experiences do make us who we are, but as someone with severe anxiety due to PTSD, I have to say, life was much nicer WITHOUT it.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirinae View Post
I suppose I can kind of understand why someone might want this, especially in cases where people are so irrevocably damaged by what they've experienced that they are unable to function. On the other hand, my memories -- even the really horrific ones -- are what make me me and as much as I might dislike some of the things I remember, I wouldn't want to lose part of myself.
I completely agree.
post #8 of 22
I agree with Ginger. But, as we know so little about the working mechanism of the brain, I have a feeling it would be all or nothing. I don't see you being able to be selective.
But should be up to the individual.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
But should be up to the individual.
I absolutely agree with this. Nobody should be able to make this decision for someone else -- memories are too personal and too important to let someone else decide to take yours away. (Even if the decision is considered to be "in the best interests of" the patient. I think it's sort of a "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" kind of thing.)
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
The door this opens is too scary for me... I'm not willing to take the chance that this would be used for only good intentions.
post #11 of 22
I think all of our past experiences (good/bad or terrible) make us who we are today. I know for me...all of the bad things I've been through have made me a stronger person. Sure i have times when i would love to forget, but that would change who I am. Ask people with amnesia or there is a man who had a brain injury and can no longer lay down memories (after 15 seconds...all gone!)...ask them if they want there memory back. I bet they would give anything to know WHO they really are. I can't imagine wanted to erase who i am.
post #12 of 22
I can see both sides of this. Those damaging and awful things I would like to forget taught me something and pretty much determined my life's path and my belief systems.

I don't see how they could be selective. We know too little about the brain as it is, how could we trust someone to remove only the bad memories? And, who would we trust to try? Researchers?

My sister, who is more like my child, has some horrific memories I would love to take away for her. But, at the risk of taking her good memories? No.

I understand the temptation though.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
The door this opens is too scary for me... I'm not willing to take the chance that this would be used for only good intentions.
That's what I think.

Playing God leads to big egos....then those egos go & do whatever they darn well please. Pretty soon...someone's gonna do something illegal.

I could see how it would be beneficial....but at the same time, I agree that those memories are what make us...us.

Take Betsy's daughter. I do agree that it would be wonderful if those memories could be gone....but there are people who love her for her....& if she does not have those memories....she will be different.

One thing I wonder....if they take those memories....will that "undo the damage" done by the memories?

What would they do if two parents who lost a child wanted all memory of the child erased as it was too painful? How would they decided who is competant enough to determine if they want their memories erased or who is being driven by emotions?
post #14 of 22
I think if they could be selective in removing a particular horrifying memory and leaving the rest of the memory in tact, then I would go for it. Yes, I think all of our memories and past experiences do make us who we are today, but what if a bad memory from the past was making our lives stunted, and ruined, and if one could remove that bad memory that person could go on to lead a healthy productive life.
post #15 of 22
I guess I'm hesitant about how it can be selective. What part of the brain do they know is attached to what memory? Is it even attached to a particular spot?

I could see how it would benefit someone with PTSD or who had a horrible experience. However doesn't one memory cross over into others? I.e., in the case of Betsy's daughter suppose that she did have the tragedy erased from her memory. However what sort of emotion or other memory does she have that would be associated with a knife, police, someone that looks like her former boyfriend? We tend to associate other things based on memory and feelings are still tied to it. Just because you erased the memory of what happened, you wouldn't you still have perhaps a fear of large knives based on other memories?
Then you would be living a life fearing something that you don't understand why you fear it.
post #16 of 22
There was a Jim Carey movie about this:
http://www.netflix.com/Movie/Eternal...45?trkid=64596
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post

I could see how it would benefit someone with PTSD or who had a horrible experience. However doesn't one memory cross over into others?

Then you would be living a life fearing something that you don't understand why you fear it.
Good point. Say someone was attacked and developed agoraphobia. Do they erase the incident only or that and all the time since? What happens to the person's sense of self when she realizes she has been hiding from something she cannot remember? What about relationships that exist now that would not exist if not for the event? If the memory is gone, do we lose the empathy that event gave us for others who have experienced something similar?

I have many more questions but I'll shush
It is just too iffy. The brain is an amazing and complicated system with much more unmapped than mapped.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockcat View Post
There was a Jim Carey movie about this:
http://www.netflix.com/Movie/Eternal...45?trkid=64596

That's what I was going to say. And there was another movie with something similar too, but I can't remember the name. Just seems scary to me. Kind of like the lobotomies they used to do on people with mental illness. What will happen to people's personalities? IF everyone only wants good memories--should we wipe out all traces of the Holocaust and all the other atrocities that have happened?
post #19 of 22
All this reminds of the film Total Recall, they mucked about with his memories and well it made a fairly good movie but of course, that was a movie.

They do say all the sci-fi stuff isn't that far ahead of the real inventions, but this really scares me - all the what ifs, how can the select the right memory, and how do they really know how it will effect someones personality - are scientists really 100% sure how our memory works and how is molds our character and personality - its a big mystery.

One thing that would be better would be one that helps people find lost memories, you know for Alzheimer sufferers, but then again, it could bring back bad memories for people who had hidden them away for year

Too messy I think to start tampering with - leave it alone I say !
post #20 of 22
Too many unknowns for my liking. And as many posters have already said, no matter how horrific a particular memory is, how much we might want not to remember, it's still formative -- what would its absence mean? I'm not convinced it would be as simple as not having to be bothered with that particular memory any more. No, I'm content to take the good with the bad in this department, thanks all the same.
post #21 of 22
I don't think it's possible to do this successfully or ethically. Mostly because memories aren't mutually exclusive, finite entities. We learn from them, and they shape our lives and our natures.

If, for example, I was able to erase the memory of being raped when I was 16, perhaps I would. BUT, I learned a very great deal from that experience. I learnt so many things that I could not possibly illustrate or even be aware of them all. To remove the fundamental event that shaped many of my actions and beliefs since would be potentially to leave me with no understanding of why I feel the way I do about things.

I know not to go anywhere late at night by myself. Lots of people know this. Mostly, however, they know it because they've been taught that it's sensible - and therefore might risk it once or twice. I know it because it led to a dreadful experience in my life therefore I'd NEVER risk it. If I couldn't remember why I knew not to do it, not only would that be immensely confusing but it would also deprogramme my behaviours to some extent, with a knock-on effect that couldn't be quantified.

Or, alternatively, you erase the rape and all repercussions - then, potentially, half my personality has disappeared into the ether, and I don't know who I am at all, or why I am who I am.

No. Leave playing God to God. There's too much we don't know and we cannot predict every outcome. That is impossible.
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitEKats4Eva! View Post
No. Leave playing God to God. There's too much we don't know and we cannot predict every outcome. That is impossible.
VERY well said!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: IMO: In My Opinion
TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › No Memory...