Back on page 55, we discussed the idea of erasing memories. But here are some things to ponder along those lines.
In 2159, the process of medical erasure is common, though not without risks. As reported earlier,
“… Under normal circumstances, portions of the brain that house memories can be accessed and much like tracking through a DVD selectively erased, but the procedure is more difficult than it sounds. Memories are stacked, like thin layers and they are not always sequential. If the procedure samples too deeply, or grabs a snippet that doesn’t belong, the subject can awaken missing key components of their personality or identity map. In extreme cases, illegal intrusions using cheap, makeshift headjacking devices can disrupt the autonomic nervous system affecting heart rate and respiration and ultimately resulting in death.”
In Sean’s case, the consulting physician has already recommended erasure. This is probably due to the severity of Sean’s injuries, the fact that he was raped, and based on the evidence, probably by a synth. This presents a problem for the police who, with access to Sean’s memories, could replay the whole scene (from Sean’s point of view) and identify the perpetrator(s). While that sounds like the fastest and easiest solution to finding the bads, it might not be that easy. The brain, all by itself, may have already suppressed the memories deep into Sean’s subconscious and digging them out might cause more damage. Some latent memories, may linger, remnants of what was sent into cold storage by the brain, but they may be erratic and fractioned. Playing around with memories can be a challenge.
However, non-trauma-based memories have been routine medical procedures for a long time. If you would prefer to wipe out most of your memories of your ex, other than a familiar face, it’s possible. Of course, the more you wish to erase the more likely you are to experience subtle behavioral changes. Whether we like it or not, what happened yesterday or last year or twenty yeas ago affected you and possibly helped to define portions of the personality you exhibit today — both good and bad behaviors. Most people in the 22nd century, however — possibly realizing that they have a couple hundred years to get over it — have adopted a casual attitude toward messing around with the body and the mind. If it’s a quick fix for momentary discomfort, most people will opt for the change.
What do you think? Would you erase a memory from your past?