One day it’ll be a choice. I don’t like it. I mean, the flexibility is nice to have — especially for something traumatic that you just want to get rid of; war, rape etc etc. But part of your job in existence is to be witness and to work through your pain and evolve yourself. And I can see this being used nefariously — and not just in a paranoid Phillip K. Dick dystopian future kind of way, either.
I had (or have? I dunno. We’re still “friends” on facebook) a friend who called me up. Let us call her Agnes. She had broken up with the love of her life because shit happened and anyway, time heals wounds etc etc and several years and a marriage later she gets an email from him out of the blue “i fucked up, you were great, if you’re still angry I don’t blame you but i just wanted to tell you i know you were great” etc. Long story short, they got back together (and are still,) and as far as I know are deliriously happy together. Which is all well and good — forgiveness is a nice thing, after all, and happiness is a bitch to find, so you gotta work for it. Except about two months into their newfound love she calls me out of the blue saying “hey how do you permanently delete files from a Mac?”. I tell her and hang up and then go “Wait. She doesn’t have a Mac.” But I know my friend, and on a hunch (I’m usually really good at these) I call back and tell her off for deleting his pictures of his ex from his computer. Quite frankly, I feel a bit used and dirty and I am Seriously Unhappy about this, so perhaps I am less than nice. She gets mad, tells me he’s backing up the pictures later (…but she’s deleting them now…? just distraction BS…) and anyway I don’t know the situation. I tell her that it’s hardly fair for her to decide what memories he gets to keep, because they’re his memories, after all. She gets mad and repeats that I do not know the circumstances, and I say she’s right, mea culpa, if I’m wrong, please forgive me. She says nevermind and it’s ok, don’t worry about it and since then we haven’t spoken. Which leads me to believe that I was right. But enough about that.
So now think of someone demanding this of you, literally of your memories. Or doing it against your will. Note that one of the reasons given for not freeing some of the Guantanamo Bay prisoners is not “they’re dangerous terrorists and we can’t let them go” but rather “they’re totally innocent but they know too much about our information extraction (viz, torture) methods to be let go”.
Here, have some sonic yoof “Nevermind (what was it anyway)”:
Sleep tight, kids.