|A pill to erase memories?|
The piece is provocative and fun, but Lehrer's makes, I think, a weak argument that since memories are all falible and mutable anyway, there's no real problem with erasing the ones we don't like. Sure memories, and the mechanism by which we keep them, are imperfect. That's why we try so hard to anchor the important ones outside of our brains in other ways: by documenting them and by sharing them with others to keep our perceived reality from drifting too far from the historical one. We can't overestimate the importance of preserving our tenuous link to historical reality, though, either as individuals or as a society. In a world as perilous as ours, we can't afford to forget what's really happened. Remembering with fidelity, hard as it is, is key to moving forward safely and successfully. If we start to whack unpleasant memories, we do so at our collective peril.