By Desiree Perez
By Desiree Perez
It sounds like the plot of a science fiction movie, but it’s not. Researchers are actually trying to find a way to erase people’s memories.
As if erasing human memory wasn’t Hollywood enough, it turns out the Army is one of the major supporters of this project.
Can you say “Manchurian Candidate?”
Although it seems sinister, the Army actually makes a fairly reasonable argument for wanting to develop this kind of technology.
Imagine being able to eradicate shell shock.
Think about all the returning soldiers who have trouble functioning in society after experiencing combat. Now suppose we could simply wipe out those traumatic and haunting memories.
Many people are receptive to the idea. “I’d take it in a second,” Sgt. Michael Walcott said, referring to the drug treatment. Walcott is an Iraq War veteran coping with traumatic recollections.
If scientists could pull this one off, we’d have a lot of grateful veterans. That’s for sure. But veterans wouldn’t be the only ones to benefit from this new technology.
Rape victims, disaster survivors and even abused children would have the opportunity to erase the scars of their past.
At first glance, this new technology sounds like a miracle-and a long awaited one at that.
Unfortunately, there is a major issue standing in the way.
It’s not a matter of funding or ability, but rather a matter of ethics that plagues the project.
When you get down to it, being able to chemically clean a person’s memory is an ethical Pandora’s Box.
In the wrong hands, being able to eradicate memories could be a devastating weapon.
Ultimately, someone will have to decide how this technology will be used. Someone will decide which memories are traumatic enough to be erased.
If that someone has it out for humanity, this technology could facilitate the end of the world-literally.
First, people could abuse the information and easily frame people. Assassins could have their memories cleared and have no knowledge of what they’ve done.
Still worse, it could get to the point where all memories could be completely bleached out.
People cannot function without a database of knowledge. It would be completely debilitating to annihilate a person’s memory.
Even in the right hands, there are ethical dilemmas.
Our experiences shape us. If everybody decided to delete painful memories, people would be bland. “The Matrix” couldn’t even sell that kind of existence.
Even if you were to have your memory erased, the people around you would have a peripheral memory of your experience.
Say you went to war and had your memory wiped the moment you got back. There would be years missing from your life. More so, everyone around you would know you went to war, even if you didn’t.
In the end, you can’t escape your past without taking away from your future. Of the two, I’d say the future is more important.