September 28, 2005

Mind eraser

If you could erase parts of your memory, would you? Is there anything so terrible that you would be willing to erase any bit of it from your mind? If you did so, do you think you would end up being a different person? I can think of some scenario's you might want to block out of your mind?

Being the first to find a suicide victim, being in the pit at a place like the Oklahoma City bombing or Ground Zero, the death of a child, combat, POW or kidnapping experiences all come to mind. However, by removing those memories, would you become somehow less of a person? Would you be less whole or more whole?

Does pain in some way help define our shining moments? Is there anyway you would ever delete a happy memory? What would that take? What kind of incentive would be required to induce you to delete something good from your mind? I've been curious about memory for years. Pick any year of my life, I can probably pick out some terrible memory from that year. Something I'd like to forget. Ask me for a happy memory from many of those same years, I'd likely draw a blank. I think most of us would. I'm not saying they aren't there, I'm saying that are archival systems in our brains are not set up to retrieve the good as easily as the bad.

So, at this late stage in our lives, can that system be rebuilt? Can you redesign your memory and thought process as an adult to assist you to be able to get to positive memories faster and negative ones slower or not at all? Would we be happy zombies? Would the lack of bad memories somehow make us all smiles and good thoughts? Yeah, I didn't think so either. But, it's an attractive thought sometimes isn't it. That memory of the time... Never mind, I'm sure you are picturing just the thought that you'd like to zap. Good luck.

6 Comments:

At 12:20 AM, Blogger butterfly said...

Great stuff, as always.

What I love about your writing is that you don't lead anyone to your own opinion, instead you make us think about it in our own terms and come to our own conclusion.

It's like you give us space to fill the blanks. And it's very stimulating.

Keep it up! ;o)

 
At 9:04 AM, Blogger Natalia said...

I would not erase anything...everything that happened has made me who I am and I love me as I am.

-N

 
At 11:14 AM, Blogger Buffalo said...

Pain is a part of life. It needs to be embraced the same way we embrace pleasure.

I would not erase one tiny memory. Each one is precious.

 
At 1:22 PM, Blogger Alice said...

granted, i haven't lived through anything too horrific in my life, at least not at the personal level. but i think what you said somewhere in this post is right, that even the awful stuff helps determine who you are as a person. ew, how generic dr. phil do i sound right now? shutting up now...

 
At 12:23 PM, Blogger StrangeMadness said...

I've often wondered about the way we catalog memories also. I had a quite pleasant early childhood, but the only things that stick out are the hurtful ones. My father was an incredible man and ideal father, but the first memory I have of him was one in which I felt rejected by him. I wonder if there is a way to "reprogram" our minds into saving the more pleasant things in a more accessible spot. Hmm...

 
At 12:50 PM, Blogger Schuyler said...

You say "Pick any year of my life, I can probably pick out some terrible memory from that year. Something I'd like to forget. Ask me for a happy memory from many of those same years, I'd likely draw a blank." Isn't that one of the ways to tell a pessimist from an optimist? I've heard another way to tell is if their very first memory is a happy one or a bad one... My early life memories are all good ones. The year that I jumped off of my porch and slammed my head into my Playskool carpenter's set requiring a swatch of stitches across my forehead is the same year I remember chasing the rainbows on the wall that we created in preschool with water, mirrors, and sunlight coming in from the window. I don't remember the stitches incident at all. I've only been told about it. But I distinctly remember a group of us running around the room jumping up and trying to catch the rainbows on the wall....

 

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