Thursday, March 27, 2008

How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!

All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately that includes the end of our Romantic Comedies unit. While I thoroughly enjoyed both films, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind presented a much deeper theme with a question that ultimately seems to end with a catch-22. And the question is, if you had the option to erase your memory about something or someone, would you do it?

Now, most of us may initially think yes before quickly realizing 'Oh, no. Memories make us who we are.' and deciding on this seemingly moral and logically correct answer. After all, those who don't remember the past and learn from it are doomed to repeat it, aren't they? Our memories define us: our morals, our beliefs and our actions. If we destroy those memories, then aren't we destroying a part of ourselves?

If I may bat for the other side now and play the Devils' Advocate, however, what about those people who have had horrible circumstances happen to them? You may scold someone who wishes to erase the memory of a person from a bad break up, claiming they will never learn from their mistakes if they continue to do this time and time again. But what are you going to tell the person who was attacked and raped? 'If you erase this memory, you'll never learn to keep your legs crossed tighter when someone's forcing them apart.'? I would hope not.

Though, once again, as I chameleon over to the con side--what if the person has bettered themselves as a result of this horrible encounter, and have for example taken up a defense class of sorts, vehemently adheres to the buddy system, and is much more cautious around strangers?

But does the removal of scarring memories mean that the aforementioned person will once again throw caution to the wind and say '!@#$ this'? Surely their friends won't leave them vulnerable because they still have the memory of what happened and will surely encourage the continuance of the beneficial behavior.

Perhaps I should wrap this up before it breaks into all-out internal warfare that could last for quite a while. As far as my personal opinion goes, I think it's a very gray area. Even the mere idea of having the technology available is sending up red flags as I imagine the various ways it could be abused--but taking that out of the calculation, if it was an option I, being nothing more than human, would probably chew my moral logic to bits, spit it out and step on it on my way towards the temptation of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

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