Total Recall: Blessing or Curse?
Image by Mikey G Ottawa via Flickr“Wouldn’t it be great to be able to remember everything? To see all our most important moments, all the priceless encounters, adventures and triumphs? What if memory never faded, but instead could be retrieved at any time, as reliably as films in a video store?”
Given a choice, I’m happy with remembering “enough” and remembering selectively. Granted, at times it would be a benefit to dig deeper into memory–for a name to go with a face (the latter easier to recall than the former), for a fact to support an argument, for the song that was playing at a certain moment I want to write about, for the feeling of a conversation and the exact wording to know who actually said what.
Sometimes it would be a good thing to retrace one’s steps into the past. And other times, total recall would be a haunting and oppressive burden. This woman knows all about that as she remembers the smallest details of events. She’s not so good about facts–a detail that supports the notion that there are different pathways and brain regions involved in two distinct types of memory.
Memory is a frontier of knowledge I’ve long been interested in, so I thought this was an interesting piece from the German online magazine, Spiegel.
On the other hand, the selective erasure of specific memories is both promising and scary.Â It can be done today in mice. When it can be done in humans, who decides when and how it’s used?