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  1. #41
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Just to add to my post above:

    Several people have said something to the effect that if you wiped bad memories, your coping skills/mechanisms for future similar bad experiences would be worse/diminished/non-existent (hope I'm not misquoting those of you who said something like that.)

    In a way I agree - it undoubtedly applies in some situations. However...probably due to being rather over-sensitive/a bit neurotic, and due to Ni habits of relating everything to everything else...what often happens to me is that if I have a very negative experience, it brings back all the pain and unpleasantness of the previous similar experiences, and it's sort of like I'm reacting again to ALL those experiences, not just the current one. Which can be overwhelming and hideously painful and probably explains why there are certain types of negative experiences which just flatten me and take an exceptionally long time for me to recover from.

    I would tend to put those sorts of memories/experiences into the "hit the erase button, because I learned something but the damage wasn't worth it" category.
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  2. #42
    FRACTALICIOUS phobik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    You could erase your memory of getting your memory erased! The only downside is that you'd remember the second memory erasing and wonder why you got a memory erasing in the first place.
    Like Paycheck.
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  3. #43
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phobik View Post
    LOLOLOL! My favorite Ben Affleck flick.
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  4. #44
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    So much for bad experiences building character...

    I think the argument that your experiences make you who you are is unconvincing. Our personalities are pretty much formed by the age of 11, after that we're just cataloging experiences. And bad experiences are so utterly arbitrary. Are we really a completely different person because we left the house 5 mins late one day and accidentally ran a child over, say? No. What defines us as who we are is how we would react to such an event, and that potential remains unchanged irrespective of how life plays out.
    Like I said, I don’t think bad experiences build character/strength if the source of the suffering isn’t looked into. If it’s pain that only exacerbates a person’s issues instead of spurring them to discover what their issues are, then it won’t be helpful. Too many people are simply given a prescription for depression and in such cases, a person may as well erase the memory I guess because it’s probably slightly more affective than the analgesic properties of antidepressants.

    My point in posting that bit about PTSD was to show that even in extreme cases of trauma the suffering caused by an event isn’t about the event itself as much as it is about how prepared we are to deal with it; the pain comes from the way we process it. Bad experiences are arbitrary, and maybe even the coping skills we are handed in youth are arbitrary (since the parents we get are arbitrary) but the extent to which we are willing and able to look at those coping mechanisms as adults- to honestly acknowledge the attachments we have, recognize how we cling to them to protect our ego and to honestly see what’s causing our suffering- is not entirely arbitrary. The will-power a person has to endure suffering without instinctively and compulsively fleeing from it (towards comfort, and incidentally towards unconsciousness) is not arbitrary. “There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious..” -Carl Jung. I don’t know about this “personalities are pretty much formed by the age of 11”, but the ability to stop and honestly take account of a situation while also feeling a lot of pain is very much a learned ability which can be strengthened throughout the course of one’s life.

    I think a lot of it has to do with whether or not an individual can even find direction that actually helps them reprocess the memories of bad experiences into something that makes them stronger, because when we’re left to our own devices we tend to turn the bad memories against ourselves (which only makes our ego attachments stronger, as we flee into comfort to escape the suffering). And as I keep saying, most of the places we have to turn to for ‘help’ will simply offer analgesics anyway (medication is the ‘quickest’ fix, it’s usually seen as the most productive). So for this reason, I think that erasing a memory is better than ruminating oneself into a putrid smelly pile of suffering: that doesn’t make anyone stronger. Finding effective direction is much, much easier said than done. It’s difficult to find. Even when people bypass the meds to seek psychotherapy (if they’re lucky enough to be able to afford it), there are a lot of psychotherapists who just aren’t very good.

    So yeah, imo, erase bad memory > making things worse through fruitless rumination (suffering distracts us and makes us ruminate). But overall I think the erase-a-memory approach is bad for society. We need to get out of the cycle of prescribing medication/mistaking the symptom for the problem, of pushing meds over therapy just because it’s cheaper and more time efficient and we need to focus on making therapy more humanistic (and actually mindful, instead of ‘productive’ in a mindless way). It’s kind of ridiculous, the extent to which we’re studying which parts of the brain to medicate or poke in order to feel what we want to feel- according to the CDC, 11% of Americans (over the age of 12) take antidepressants in spite of their efficacy being debatable in first place. This other source suggests more than 1 in every 5 adults is on some medication for a psychological disorder. Big Pharma has us in their pocket, and imo that’s bad. Our present model of ‘professional mental health’ is in serious need of rebuilding.

    And this is all on top of the fact that people get spoiled- I don’t have any studies offhand to back this statement up, but I find it hard to believe I’d really need to. If people didn’t get spoiled, the ‘first world problems’ meme wouldn’t be so funny- it’s funny because it resonates with people. If you take away something that’s making people suffer by removing it, then they’ll ‘suffer’ from something even less challenging.

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  5. #45
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    I would not, because they've finally led me to somewhere that I'm happy... I took the memory erasing route for years with alcohol... it didn't make anything any better

    sometimes you have to eat the brussel sprouts that life gives you in order to really enjoy the dessert as much as you should... sometimes you learn lessons the hard way in order to enjoy the fun parts of life all the better- learning from our mistakes is how humanity has advanced, even the really horrible and dark mistakes that people would WANT to erase- a good portion of human progress has come from someone being hurt and working to fix the problem so that it wouldn't happen again- if we could wipe out the painful memories would we be stunting human progress?

    would I have erased certain things if offered the ability years ago? yes... but when looking back at things now I'm glad that I didn't... my life and my scars are mine
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Wow. That's ... weird.
    *shrug* I guess. I mean, I have trouble understanding why you don't seem bothered by it, it's just how I am.

    Even with my particular road in life, I'm in the school where I typically don't like to actually change details about my past (I'll talk about it round-about, avoiding details but not actually changing them), whereas other people in the same situation are fine with alterating details to conform to the present.

    (And with regards to that, there were a few people who would press me with questions like, "If you could take a pill and immediately feel happy as who you are right this moment, why wouldn't you do it?!" and all I could say is that I'd feel like I was lying about who I was. I would be someone else entirely. I'd be murdering my current self and being a completely different person. It just didn't seem right, to me.)

    Identity is a big deal to me personally, for whatever reason. So it spills into this topic as well. I mean, what is my perception of my identity based on ASIDE from my recollection of my past? If I lose my past, then who am I (aside from what I do in the moment and start creating a new past?)

    For cinematic references, consider themes in Memento (Lenny's kind of just a loose cannon and otherwise "trapped" in the current moment, with no possibility of long-term goal or connection) or Dark City....

    What if you didn't pretend? You'd remember the removal, after all. And you'd have knowledge of the event, you'd just be removing the negative (or positive) emotional content.
    Hmm. Well, if I do remember that something happened, but don't remember the emotional content, I'm less bugged by that, but I'm still unsure. It would probably depend on what exactly it was.

    I mean, maybe since I've had to fight so hard to become who I am that I can't stand the thought of relinquishing even one inch of that, for good or ill. I tend to draw definition from life narrative, and to me changing/removal details of the story necessarily changes the narrative.

    I also suspect on some level that I thrive on pain.

    The example given on the programme was NYPD officers - many of whom committed suicide after 9/11 or else suffered crippling PTSD. I don't see how removing the traumatic memories and feelings associated with that day could be other than a good thing. Especially if it saved a life. Interestingly though, only 20% of officers said they would take a drug to do that. (Presumably the ones who suffered the most.)
    Honestly, I would not begrudge them that. I have much sympathy for people in that kind of situation, and if it is beneficial in terms of mental health to remove those feelings and memories, then I would support it if they chose to do such.

    Therapy overall is kind of the "long-road," and it's less about removing it and more about integrating it somehow. So I prefer some kind of therapeutic adjustment if possible, it seems to try to make the best of a bad situation and become stronger by it.

    But I've seen enough accounts of Vietnam/war tragedies, seen enough abuse stories, etc., that sometimes it would seem much better to remove at least some of that emotional content -- it is serving no purpose except to drag someone down. I've also seen it end up in tragedy; that stuff can easily derail your entire life, if not ruin and kill you outright. There is some shit you just can't get over.

    So I'd support their liberation from those things, if that's what they wanted and needed. It's just not a road that I feel walking myself.

    It's really weird to me because this is an extension of a natural process. Sometimes the brain manages to forget trauma on its own, as a protective measure.
    True, although I think in cases of suppression/repression it just comes out in other ways. Jung I think said that neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering. Then again, some things are SO bad that repression (or some kind of substance abuse) can seem like the only viable solutions.

    It's also funny because most people think nothing of going out and drinking themselves into a state of oblivion - not only wrecking their memory of one night but doing lasting damage to their brain and other organs. Something I think is really fucking stupid and wouldn't do...
    I was gonna ask about what you thought, when I saw the opening sentence.

    Yeah, I'll drink to get a heavy buzz on occasion because I like how it feels, but I have no desire to have black outs or body damage. There is just one incident when I was at college that I lost the memory of how many drinks I consumed (apparently it was enough to ruin my "no hurl" statistic, I do remember the vomiting), but that's about it. I don't like the idea of not being self-conscious for an undetermined amount of time.

    But I've also had to deal with a father for my entire life who has totally destroyed his body and was in a coma two days related to alcohol abuse, and has had numerous blackouts over the course of his life, and honestly dealing with him now it's like his head is all screwed up. I'm surprised he's not dead yet, he must have the stamina of a horse. But no fucking way. I'm not doing that to myself either.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  7. #47
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    on another note... if this were possible Bruce Wayne could have TOTALLY afforded to wipe out the memory of his parents' death... meaning a world with no Batman... is this a risk we'd be willing to take?
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  8. #48
    Senior Member captain curmudgeon's Avatar
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    I would not. Painful memories have, in part, shaped who I am. I'm fine with who I am and who I'm becoming. If the rest of the world has a problem with who I am, then fuck 'em.
    Jarlaxle: fact checking this thread makes me want to go all INFP on my wrists

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  9. #49
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    would I have erased certain things if offered the ability years ago? yes... but when looking back at things now I'm glad that I didn't... my life and my scars are mine
    Yes, this is exactly what leans me towards saying no. There are things I'm certain I would have erased back when they wouldn't stop hurting and I couldn't imagine any value ever coming from having the experience- I never would have guessed there would be value for me later on. So even the things now I want to erase, I also know there's probably something valuable for me to recognize about that later on.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  10. #50
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    @Salomé

    What's so great about triumph?
    The answer writes itself.

    How do you know it would still be there?
    Because the damage is already done and entwined into all sorts of nooks and crannies of the brain. Just because you remove the trunk of a tree doesn't mean the roots follow.

    What's wrong with escapism? What's wrong with it being easy?
    In small doses, escapism is healthy. Beyond moderation, it isn't healthy.

    why is life supposed to be easy? What of value that is easy to achieve is then valued by its owner?

    Storytime!

    Once upon a time I used to collect caterpillars and feed them until they reached their chrysalis stage. Then I would wait impatiently for them to emerge. One day I managed to be home when one butterfly was struggling to get out. I, being the stupid and helpful NFP that I was, decided to help it by pulling the casing away from the wings. I felt like God for all of about 4 seconds before I realized that the wings weren't opening up. The struggle to escape the casing is what spread the wings while they were still pliable and forming.

    The End.

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