We all possess painful memories that we wish we could forget--the death of a relative or a pet, a car accident that left a friend paralyzed, a parents' divorce. In the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the main characters, Joel and Clementine, experience painful memories too, the memories of their past relationship. Hurt and heartbroken, the characters each decide to have a procedure performed known as "targeted memory erasure," hoping to rid their minds of the memories they have of one another.
While "target memory erasure" is a fictional procedure, methods for dampening the effects of painful memories do exist. One such method is the use of the drug propranolol after a traumatic event. Propranolol targets adrenaline and blocks it from affecting beta-adrenegic receptors, preventing memories from becoming solidified. While the drug is effective when it comes to dampening the effects of painful memories, it does not erase them altogether.
Even if the technology to erase memories was available, would it be ethical? Some argue that our memories are an important component of what makes us human. That being the case, would you undergo a procedure to have your painful memories erased? Comment below.