While I was writing Caskets & Conspiracies it became necessary to research memory implantation and false memories. While I was doing that research, I came across this article. It is found at smithsonian.com and it deals with two scientists that have successfully implanted a memory in a mouse.
"The observation culminated more than two years of a long-shot research effort and supported an extraordinary hypothesis: Not only was it possible to identify brain cells involved in the encoding of a single memory, but those specific cells could be manipulated to create a whole new “memory” of an event that never happened."
Now the psychology lover in me is really excited by this information. Really Excited. Yes, it is just a mouse, but let me tell you that's where it all starts. The idea that we could actually pinpoint a memory and rewrite it is almost God-like in its application.
That's where the non-scientific side of me becomes more than a little nervous. We could rewrite memories.
Think about that for a second.
We could rewrite memories.
Yes, there are situations where this could be more than practical. There are certain events in a person's life that have the ability to break them. Could we undo a psychotic break if the memory of whatever event triggered it was erased? What about young children that live through horrible abuse? Could we overwrite those memories with new ones that could potentially shape a happier future?
But- What about the other side. We are our memories. History is just a collection of memories. If someone had the power to rewrite new memories in the masses, what would stop them from rewriting history?
I know. It would make a good book right? But this is real. All of this could eventually become very real in the future. It all starts with that little white mouse and curiosity.
The article points out, "Though the work so far has been done on lab mice, the duo’s discoveries open a deeper line of thought into human nature. If memories can be manipulated at will, what does it mean to have a past? If we can erase a bad memory, or create a good one, how do we develop a true sense of self? “Memory is identity,” the British author Julian Barnes writes in his memoir Nothing to Be Frightened Of. “You are what you have done; what you have done is in your memory; what you remember defines who you are.”
But first I want to hear from you. I asked this question on my Facebook Page, but I want to ask it here as well.
If you had the ability to erase and rewrite a memory, would you do it?
Most people said no they would not.
Then I asked my second question.
If your child endured a traumatizing event, one that would change the course of their life, would erase and rewrite their memory?
That was where the answers differed. But what do you think?