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Thread: If you could get your memory cleared, would you?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Makers's Avatar
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    If you could get your memory cleared, would you?

    I was thinking about this last night, assuming that the lessons remained, I'd probably clear my memories if the opportunity was offered. Even good memories become painful, and there's something to be said about starting fresh. Many spiritual gurus say we should live eternally in the now. But what do you all think, are memories overrated? Would you clear them if you could?

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    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    Uh, not for me. My memory is a large part of -- if not the entirety of -- what I consider my internal (qua introspective) identity. I'd view any desire to wipe memories as tantamount to a desire for suicide. As in: disappointing if not deplorable, under all but certain extreme circumstances. Edit: in fact, I'd fight to keep my memories from someone who was trying to take them the same way I'd fight to keep my very life, as such (insofar as I had reason to keep wanting to live it, anyhow). Mine. Me. Back off.

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    One of my pleasures in life is reliving past experiences such as travel, coming up with good ideas that worked, falling in love, having kids, great meals--that kind of thing. In many ways a person's identity is mostly memory. My mother's Alzheimer's has progressed to where she doesn't know me anymore. Having witnessed her memory "resetting" process over the past 3 or 4 years has been painful and, indeed, horrifying. I hope that I die with my memories intact.

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    Your Huckleberry lethe's Avatar
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    Before I would say without a doubt absolutely not.

    I'm very attached to my memories and am overly concerned with how much they may change. I even go so far as to take notes and test myself much later to see how much it can change. I also take notes on other influences and patterns to check if my initial impression/interpretation of events was skewed. When a recovered (not recently thought of) memory pops up I kind of mentally "freeze" and let the memory present itself without filling in the holes so I don't accidentally re-write some pieces.

    I don't think it's enough to simply keep the lessons learned from a particular memory. For one thing, you were younger, less experienced, and had a different perspective when you came to that conclusion. There have been many times I've been able to go back and examine WHY I thought something was true only to discover I was a moody teenager who jumped to a moody teenager conclusion, then carried that lesson as if it were gospel truth the whole time. Sometimes it was something I was taught early, and we all have a tendency to believe what we were first taught. Remembering allows me to reexamine the source from time to time. It's because of this ability that we are not simply a collection of the beliefs and lessons that were given to us.

    Another reason is each memory holds much more information than we realize. Just because I used that piece to complete this one puzzle doesn't mean it wont also be used in another. I keep them and search them for grander, larger patterns. This is especially helpful to me in relation to emotions. I don't naturally have a good "catalog" of the more specific emotions, hell, some of them you only feel that particular flavor of once or twice in your life! There have been many times, usually within a relationship, where I have been able to recognize I felt almost the exact same thing before - and looking at the truth of the previous situation helped me realize what was going on in the current one. If I had only remembered the lesson and not the memory itself, I wouldn't be able to cross reference it against my new feelings.

    I am constantly using information from my memories beyond whatever lessons I initially learned from them. They are too valuable to give up, no matter how negative.


    ....That said... I have seen some disturbing things. I somewhat wish I could erase some of the imagery and be left with only a description, and understanding, and the feelings. I want some pictures out of my mind. They aren't helping.

  5. #5
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    Probably not, but I imagine there are a few bad memories I'd want to make difficult to remember.

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    Limber Member floid's Avatar
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    Erasing all one's memories is the equivalent of erasing oneself.
    Like Thevenin says someone in decline with alzheimers or dementia is, as they person they and every one else knew them to be, merely dying before their bodies do.
    There's Clive Wearing who's had no memory extending in the past more than thirty seconds for two decades now.
    While he doesn't seem particularly unhappy about it he doesn't seem to exist in the sense the rest of us do either.




    What the gurus are referring to is not "wiping out memory" but severing egoic attachment to it.

  7. #7
    fhtagn Rhu's Avatar
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    If memory erasure were possible, it might be interesting to experiment with in the criminal justice sphere.

    Given the choice between life in prison or parole in a random town with a new name and no memories, I wonder how many would choose the latter, and if/when/why they would return to crime.

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    凸(ಠ_ರೃ )凸 stuck's Avatar
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    It's one of my favorite movies, I haven't seen this sequel… sounds meta.

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    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    No.

    And I say that because I actually had some repression-of-traumatic-memories issues when I was younger, and benefitted from therapy where I reconstructed and "reprocessed" the memories involved. Pretty much the opposite of what's being proposed in the OP--knowing that something happened, and taught me "lessons" (mostly phobias and compulsions which are counterproductive in the vast majority of normal life situations), but not being able to recollect the particulars of where these "lessons" came from, was an actively toxic influence on my life, not a therapeutic one. Doing the opposite was therapeutic--being able to say "this is what happened, specifically, these are the cognitions and emotions specifically produced by that experience, and here's how they are therefore unhelpful in situations that are unlike that experience."

    I would wish away the fact of those things actually happening to me (and the long-term fallout therefrom), but I would certainly not wish away any form of knowledge about anything which did happen to me, because those are two completely different things.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

  10. #10
    wetback Space Invaders Champion Fitz's Avatar
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    Absolutely, with no hesitation.

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