PSYCHOLOGISTS say the best thing the human mind can do is to forget.

Naturally, forgetting makes a person live a normal life. It gives balance to the mind by retaining only essential information and significant memories that one needs for survival.

In recent years, scientists have ventured into studying and discovering the possibility of selectively removing memories in the hope of curing potential patients suffering from psychiatric and psychological disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorder, severe depression and anxiety.

Several researchers have investigated techniques such as drug-induced amnesia, selective memory suppression, neuron destruction, memory interruption and disruption of specific molecular mechanisms to help traumatized people.

Just this month, a foreign documentary, “Memory Hackers,” showcased the cutting-edge research into the nature of human memory and how it may be manipulated for the benefit of mankind. The documentary showed how memory is not to be seen as a tape recorder that faithfully registers information and replays it intact but that which is far more malleable—always being written and rewritten.

Among the documentary’s subjects was a 12-year-old boy who was diagnosed with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, enabling him to remember just about every single thing he has experienced since the age of eight, which makes it difficult for him to distinguish between trivial and important events from his past. The possibility of selective memory erasure might help him.

Along with patients suffering from these severe circumstances, the idea of selective memory erasure is very enticing for many. Most people, including myself, may have thought once or twice about having the option to erase a speck of their memories—traumatic experiences, extreme failures, hurtful losses—in order to finally be free from stress and disturbance and be able to function as normal individuals.

Urban vanity

If someday, the possibility of scientifically and artificially erasing memories will turn into reality, can forgetting a memory be an option for everyone? Is it right for us to choose, beyond the ways of nature, what to forget and what to remember?

We all have bad and painful memories which we want to forget. However, we must realize why we have these memories in the first place.

These memories remind us that life is not perfect and that not everything in this world is good and wonderful. Bad and painful memories expose us to the reality that we also do things that we regret, that we are capable of mistakes. And from these bad memories, we learn how to make our lives better.

We have the ability to remember unpleasant memories from our past because these will serve as our guide for future actions.

Remembering and learning from past mistakes is crucial in the emotional and mental development of a person.

If everyone can erase every memory that they choose to forget, how can they distinguish what is real from what is not?

Not all unpleasant memories are ought to be forgotten. Having the option to scientifically erase memories could have drastic effects on the person and on society as well.

Despite the medical innovations scientists are pushing for, our brain’s natural selection of what memory to retain and what to forget should not be interrupted. After all, the human brain is better than any other work of science.

One cannot always choose the easy way out. When people are given the chance to artificially erase their memories, they lose a part of thier identity.

Ballet for the masses

Everything that is retained in our minds were selected naturally by our brains in order for us to function well and be who we really are.

To be sure, one can argue that if we make our own memories, we must also be free to erase them. However, the better question to answer is: if we create our own memories, why should we forget them?


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