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22 June 2003 @ 10:46 am
the fog  
I was just thinking, I don't know why, that if they invented a memory-killing pill, I bet a lot of people would use it. Like, say they sell this stuff, Memgone, over the counter and I watch Dog Soldiers on SciFi and then think, "Damn, I wish I'd seen that on DVD." I could write a note to myself, "Rent 'Dog Soldiers' on DVD," and then take a two-hour dose and erase the experience from my mind, so that when I saw it again, it'd be like the first time.

Or I could take an 8-hour dose after a shitty day, and it'd be better for me than, say, drinking.

The limitation is, you couldn't erase stuff from the distant past, like someone's death or the traumatizing spider event you had as a child. You could only erase stuff right after it happened, and so the drug would be prone to abuse, because if something happens that you want to forget, your judgment is at its weakest then--and you don't know if it's something that, integrated into your memories and personality, will make you a better stronger person, or if it's simply something to let go.

What if, every time you got a piece of negative criticism and doubted yourself, you could erase that doubt as efficiently as deleting an e-mail? And thereby keep your confidence at unprecedented levels.

But the recreational aspect is the most striking--the idea that you could reread Harry Potter, for instance, and it'd be like the first time. Or see fantastic movies over and over and feel the same jolts of surprise. Of course, after a while, you would want to move on, stop forgetting, so that your rereadings and rewatchings would layer over one another, to build up iteratively so that we'd get more and more out of each experience.

Besides, erasing your memory isn't as fun if you can't reverse it later. Like, you rewatch the same movie five times fresh--but in some ways it really is just like watching it once, which makes it kind of pointless, and it'd be cooler if you could regain your memories so that they suddenly stack up and cohere and integrate themselves back into your experience.

But still--I'm see-sawing back and forth here--each time you watched it would be a different day, different context. You could have that anticipation of wanting to see the new X-Men movie, and then reward yourself with it on an especially crappy day. You'd get that peerless thrill of novelty and virginal joy just when you need it most. And you could have that again and again.

I'd take a pill after every great movie, every great piece of fan-fiction, and I'd keep a list. Because like Leonard in Memento, you'd have to be able to remind yourself of what you've forgotten.

I think if you took it and stayed awake, your memory would begin to fog at the edges and slip away without your noticing--you'd always try to track the moment when it happened, of course, but it would slip out of your grasp. Like trying to nail down the moment when you fall asleep, it's something you're never quite able to catch. It's the same type of thing--the fuzzy border between memory and forgetting, consciousness and sleep.

Hmm. To pancakes or not to pancakes?
sockkpuppett on June 22nd, 2003 11:54 am (UTC)
Ummmm... What were you talking about again?
Estepheiaestepheia on June 22nd, 2003 12:01 pm (UTC)
Hee. Is it possible you have a soft spot for... pancakes?
Do you have pancake parlours in the US?
Maybe I should share my favorite pancake recipe with you? I will assume that you know how to make the dough for thin crépe pancakes, it's the topping that's amazing:

Peel an apple, remove the core, then chop it up, put into saucepan with a bit of butter and glaze it a bit, then add some water and a handful of raisins or sultanas, simmer for about ten minutes.

Make a bit crépe. When it is done, sprinkle it with icing sugar, then put the apple stew into the middle, sprinkle the warm apple with cinamon, put fried strips of bacon on the rest of the crépe and add a few tiny specks of butter here and there to mingle with the icing sugar.
It's a Dutch recipe, and it's truly yummie!
(Deleted comment)
Estepheiaestepheia on June 22nd, 2003 12:32 pm (UTC)
Re: dear. sweet. LORD!
Damn typo, it should say 'big crépe' in my earlier post, not 'bit crépe'. Anyway sultanas are a different name for raisins I think. There seem to be various terms for dried grapes, maybe depending on size and whether they were red or white. I'd use dried white grapes. :-)
stungunbilly: See Insidestungunbilly on June 22nd, 2003 12:09 pm (UTC)
Narratively, I love the idea of the memory pill.
Realistically, what would the side-effects be?
It depends on the chemicals your body uses naturally for memory repression. If the pill works with those, what if you overdosed? You could damage the glands that produce forgetfulness in your body, and never be able to forget again.
You could o-d yourself into an eidetic memory.

Hmm. I wonder if that's what happened to poor Fox Mulder?
Lorelei: too curiousloreleif on June 22nd, 2003 12:26 pm (UTC)
They actually do have a treatment that kills short-term memory. It's called ECT. No, thanks! *g* Great for extreme depression, but I'd rather remember the little goods and bads of my life. Otherwise, what's the point?
Mannamanna on June 22nd, 2003 02:00 pm (UTC)
I've played with that idea too. It has some really neat SF-ish implications, like...

...if you're a parent, you can use it to make your kid's lives so much better. Make sure they don't suffer from seeing their favourite kitty run over. Eradicate the nasty memory of being beaten up on the way home, or that unfortunate time you lost your temper and slapped them a couple of times. That unsuitable new friend they came home and told you about? They never met them. When you walked in and found them smoking pot for the first time and liking it -- never happened either. You can easily take away the memory of that book they read that (yet again) made them decide to be a nurse instead of the lawyer you want in the family.

...the technological advance on modern date rape drugs. And while on the abusive theme, the pills handy when babysitting those tempting underage children, too. They just went to bed a couple of hours early, didn't they?

...other kinds of criminals will find uses too. Making a living defrauding old people in their homes? Slip them a few drops before you leave and there's no chance of them identifying you, or remembering that cheque they signed.

...your local oppressive regime can find lots of uses. Witnesses at a protest saw your troops brutally beating their friends? No, they didn't. And, in fact, what protest? Your execution squads suffering PTSD after eradicating opposition? Now you can keep politics simple *and* have happy troops who can tell no secrets. Overhear someone telling a journalist something they shouldn't? A quick trip to the journalist in question and everything is good, with no messy accidents to explain. And now you can pick up a suspect, interrogate them, and return them to the street without worrying they might tell their friends.

...plus plenty of other ideas.
miriam heddy: Bug Fetishmiriam_heddy on June 22nd, 2003 03:24 pm (UTC)
Fannish Memory
I sometimes think the Trek PTB assume we all have that memory-eraser. I assume they all take something of the sort on a regular basis, anyway.

The other place I see it already working is with slash First-Time stories. Strangely, I can continue to tingle reading good (rare though it is) Kirk/Spock First-Times. I mean, there's a whole long-running zine series by that name, so the popularity of the genre seems clear.

Hmm. I wonder if the slash community actually collectively and tacitly develops a sort of voluntary amnesia (an extension of the normal "suspension of disbelief") in order to continue the love affair with the show. And I wonder if losing that ability in a given fandom (and thus remembering everything) is part and parcel of losing the love for a fandom (symptomatized by starting to get annoyed at list discussion and slash stories that seem, "suddenly," to be retreading old and too familiar ground). But do we lose it as individuals, or as a group? Or is remembering like a virus that spreads and kills a fandom (at least until new, uninfected members enter it)?
Darcydarcydodo on June 22nd, 2003 03:36 pm (UTC)
But would you remember that it was worth not erasing the film (or novel or whatever) in order to build up the overlaid memories, if you always erased it so that you could see it again? People like us, sure -- we know that overlaid memories can be cool. But what about the next generation, which would simply be in the habit of erasing the event?
caille on June 22nd, 2003 06:13 pm (UTC)
Tabula Rasa, Tabula Rasa, Tabula Rasa.

You don't wanna. There are consequences. Always.

Okay, now are we saying that there is some sort of connection between "pans" and "cakes", beyond the obvious one of how cakes can be baked inside of a "cake pan"?