Wednesday, February 07, 2007

would you erase your memory to escape the pain?

I was watching Boston Legal the other night, and they had a case involving a sixteen-year-old girl whose father wanted her to take a new experimental drug being used to erase the memory of traumatic events shortly after they occur~because she had been sexually assaulted by the very rabbi who was counseling her for her seeming sexual dysfunction~(actually, the drug itself (propranolol) isn't new~in fact, it's one i used to take as a migraine preventative{i think, if memory serves...actually i do remember that i took this particular beta blocker but i don't remember having any memory problems with it}~just this particular use of it is). I suppose the point is that if you take propranolol within a short enough after the occurrence of a traumatic event it will block the adrenaline and other stress hormones that tend to burn that traumatic memory into the brain and cause nasty things like Post-Traumatic-Stress -Disorder (which of course is something that you want to avoid~but how do you know that you are going to develop it~not everyone does~i haven't).
The idea of erasing nasty memories is nothing new~it's been addressed in countless stories and films (not the least of which is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind~great flick by the by) with varying degrees of endorsement and success~the major difference of course is that this is Real Life.
I tend to cling to my memories as i do my possessions~perhaps it is unwise. But i love all experience and they all make me who i am. Everything i have done, everyone i have met, everything i have gone through, has made me who i am. I am a sum of it all. And i fear losing it. Sometimes, as i feel the twists and turns my own mind makes of my memories, as i feel the fictions it creates of its own accord, i feel the pain of memory loss as if it were a physical amputation.
But that's just me.

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