When Meg thinks of a memory, it’s usually something nice. A holiday dinner, a wedding anniversary, opening gifts on Christmas Day:
Or maybe her nephews playing in the backyard:
Sometimes a memory is a wistful one, like finding an old photo of her Dad:
But did you know your memories are like a construction project, constantly tearing down and rebuilding your brain?
Meg was a tad horrified to hear that, thinking that between her rich dream life and the million thoughts that run through her head every day, it’s clear her brain is the Big Dig tunnel project working on overtime. Considering she was having cocktails with two cross dressers in her dreams the other night, she knows her brain must be on overload. There’s an explanation for that, she had been watching RuPaul’s reality show. You all know the last thing you watch at night will show up in your dreams, right?
Anyway, researchers have come up with a pill that could possibly erase negative memories and block them permanently. Jonah Lerer recently spoke on Here and Now, and talked about the article he had written for Wired magazine:
When you recall a memory from the recesses of your brain, the act of recalling it changes the memory itself. And when you remember, the brain has to use protein to form and rebuild the memory, kind of like putting spackle on a hole in the wall.
So far a drug cocktail has been tested on rats that will inhibit the proteins used to build memory, thus eliminating the memory, and the pain associated with recalling that information. Researchers feel it might be helpful for war veterans that are experiencing PTSD, or even people with severe depression and debilitating anxiety.
But you you imagine if people got a hold of the drug and used it say, recreationally? Imagine soneone saying “God, I really hate the craptastic review my boss gave me. I’m just gonna pop one of those cool memory eraser pills and forget that ever happened!” Break up with boyfriend? Zing, take a pill! Bad grade one semester? “What, did I even take that class?”
Meg can see the negative ramifications of the drug in everyday life, never mind if some craven dictator like Bashar Al Assad got his dirty hands on it.
Luckily, the drug is 5 to 10 years away from reality, but even that doesn’t seem a long time away for something that seems like it’s an episode of the Twilight Zone.
Meg does think it would be great if some memories went away, but ultimately, they are part and parcel of who we are, the people we have become, and reflect our true personality. If we never had to overcome adversity, would we even have a compass to steer us in the right direction?
Every man’s memory is his private literature. ~Aldous Huxley
And I think Huxley is right, what would the story of our lives be without memories? Would you take a pill to forget certain things?