The premise of 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' is simple: Erasing memories might sound all sorts of handy, but it will unleash a world of problems upon you. There is no eternal sunshine for the spotless and wiped mind. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet didn't tiptoe through the tulips; they spent half the film running from the sinister erasers as the wiping team hunted down every fleeing memory and executed it on sight. There was no turning back, and a whole lot of confusion matched with a huge probability of repeating the past.
But now the fantastical journey can be seen as a cautionary tale. Scientists believe that they've figured out how to manipulate the brain and erase memories.
Time reports that researchers at Johns Hopkins University think that by removing proteins from the brain's fear center, they can permanently erase memories. This isn't to stylishly morph memories at the whim of the rich, but rather "to enhance behavioral therapy for such conditions as post-traumatic stress disorder."
Naturally, the cons of this procedure are being shouted loud and clear. Kate Farinholt, executive director of the mental health support group NAMI says: "Erasing a memory and then everything bad built on that is an amazing idea, and I can see all sorts of potential. But completely deleting a memory, assuming it's one memory, is a little scary. How do you remove a memory without removing a whole part of someone's life, and is it best to do that, considering that people grow and learn from their experiences?" Paul Root Wolpe, director for the Center for Ethics at Emory also fears the potential: "it's a troublesome idea to begin to be able to manipulate that, even if for the best of motives."
And here we thought that 'Eternal Sunshine' was just an excellent peek into Michel Gondry's creative whimsy. Are you ready to wipe your worst memories, or does this news have you running for the hills?
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