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Can We Voluntarily Erase Our Own Memory?

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posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 06:28 AM
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Can We Voluntarily Erase Our Own Memory?


 

I'm not talking about drinking a gallon of Black Velvet and wasting your temporal lobes.

I mean, can we voluntarily overwrite our memories? Can we un-remember something? Why not? I mean, the neural matrix is malleable, right? Memories merge, they distort, they collide in our minds, we apply biases to them, we shape them and color them with our emotions... So there's a definite ingraining process going on, a physical recording mechanism, right?

So, if we can shape and distort our own memories, shouldn't we be able to voluntarily erase a memory?

I've heard of memories that were "blocked out" by the subconscious, but that doesn't mean they were overwritten. It's more likely they were just caged up in a shuttered room way back in the back of the mind, where they forever lurk in a neurochemical stasis.

For example, a while ago I was kicking a can around in my head and it fell upon a really bitter old memory. A small, insignificant, but nonetheless bitter memory. And I paused and thought,

Can I ERASE that?

So I tried and.... it was suddenly gone.



Nothing there.



I could wax dramatic at this point, because it was a very disorienting sensation. And I think I know why. It's disorienting because a considerable part of my neural growth was shaped by that memory... That memory caused ripples across the tissues of my mind, so to speak.


Now the ripples remain, but the epicenter is void.

Ah. Disorientation!

So, we can erase memories voluntarily. Right? Any Neurologists out there? Brain Surgeons? Any Philosophers wanna take a crack at it?

— Doc Velocity




posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 07:54 AM
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reply to post by Doc Velocity
 


S+F!

Thats a very interesting question to be honest and something that many, many people would love to have the ability to do; I know personally I have some memories that I definately wouldn't miss.

You said you have managed to achieve it well from a philosophical point view you couldn't have done, let me explain why:



It's disorienting because a considerable part of my neural growth was shaped by that memory... That memory caused ripples across the tissues of my mind, so to speak


If you had successfully erased the memory then you wouldn't still know that said memory shaped a part of your neural growth.

If you know that particulary memory shaped part of your neural growth then your still remembering the memory thus it hasn't been erased.



posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 07:57 AM
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reply to post by Death_Kron
 


HE would only remember erasing the memory. Not the memory itself. He can still retain the memory of erasing the memory.



posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 08:02 AM
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Originally posted by Gentill Abdulla
reply to post by Death_Kron
 


HE would only remember erasing the memory. Not the memory itself. He can still retain the memory of erasing the memory.


And therefore he would still remember what he erased.

I don't see how its possible to only remember erasing a memory because if you remember that then surely you remeber what you erased?

[edit on 3/3/10 by Death_Kron]



posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 08:03 AM
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Speaking from a neurological standpoint (and quite possibly straight out of my butt, cause I'm no expert), its my understanding that when a memory is imprinted in the brain, it causes physical neural connections. Over time, as one continues to experience events, those connections are reinforced and connected with other events. Hence a sudden aroma triggering a memory from childhood; the aroma has a neural connection to the memory.

If that's the case, would you actually be able to alter the physical neurons and sever the connections? I would love to see this researched with a brain scan.

With regards to the memory, have you truly erased it? Could you reaccess it now, if you tried?



posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 08:05 AM
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Originally posted by smyleegrl
With regards to the memory, have you truly erased it? Could you reaccess it now, if you tried?


If he could then technically speaking it was never erased in the first place.

Erasure is permanent.

You can deliberately try to forgot a memory but logically I don't see how its possible to permanently erase it.

[edit on 3/3/10 by Death_Kron]



posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 08:08 AM
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Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet did it better.

There was a lesson there. Butterfly effect, regret, etc. We are what we have been through.



posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 08:19 AM
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Great thread Doc, S&F for you!

I'm no brain expert, but I will give you my two cents worth.


I know there are cases of severe amnesia, where something so traumatic happened (whether it be a brain injury, physical violence, etc.) that the memory has, for all intents and purposes, erased. Many amnesia patients will eventually regain their thoughts and memories but there are some rare cases where the patient does not remember anything anymore. Now, of course, these are cases where the patient did not "will" themselves to lose their memories....they just vanished. Of course, this also inhibits further cognitive development as head trauma will usually do that.

There is also the case of Alzheimer's Disease, which has been proven to effectively erase memories....once again another uncontrollable condition.

There is something called Electroconvulsive Therapy, which will cause permanent memory loss.

Here's a link that I found: www.ect.org...

I suppose if you went through that, you would effectively wipe out your memory, but as far as I understand from all the medical jargon, it is not a selective process, and that it will wipe out EVERYTHING. Compare it to a hard reboot of your computer system back to the basic bios. Of course this also causes permanent cognitive damage and can inhibit basic functions in some patients.

A very interesting topic indeed, and I hope there are some true scientists on this site that might be able to add their own view to this.

-truthseeker



posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 08:25 AM
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Just found these two links on other forums regarding the same topic and the general consensus seems to be what I've already said; you can try to forget memories but not totally erase.

www.uncommonforum.com...

answers.psychcentral.com... rase-certain-memories/

I will also add whats mentioned in the above two links: its better to learn how to deal with your memories as opposed to blocking them out or trying to forget them.

I have learnt that acceptance is the greatest tool to aid with mental/emotional healing, it can be a long process and isn't always successfully on the first attempt but in the long run its definately the right thing to do.

Even rape victims and former PoW's are encouraged to accept their experiences rather than attempt to forget them. Repressed memories cause greater damage in the future as all thats needed is a trigger and then they will re-surface.

Many crimes are committed due to repressed memories, a deliberately forgotten previous traumatic experience that hasn't been dealt with properly re-surfaces due to a situational trigger and the individual snaps...

[edit on 3/3/10 by Death_Kron]



posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 08:28 AM
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reply to post by truthseeker1984
 


Beat me to it!

I was also going to add that one way to cause permanent memory loss is physical injury to the brain although as you have pointed out even if this was attempted deliberately there would be no way to specify which memories were erased.

I'm talking theoretically here, I'm not encouraging people to attempt to damage their brains with drill bits or hammers in order to forget their past!



posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 08:52 AM
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Every time you remember a particular memory you are recalling it from memory.

When you recall a memory you are actually changing the memory itself because you are looking from your current perspective.

If you give a person the right combination of drugs that blocks them from forming memories (consolidation) and have them recall a memory, that memory that you just remembered will be gone forever because it cannot be 'put back in' to your memory. This is because the drug stops your memory from updating.

io9.com...

www.dailymail.co.uk...

So yes, you can selectively erase memories but it is unclear how precise the ability to do this is.



posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 08:57 AM
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Originally posted by Albastion
When you recall a memory you are actually changing the memory itself because you are looking from your current perspective.


Thats actually a very valid point that I have never considered before!

Obviously I know that when I look back on things I look back on them differently but I've never considered the reason is because my current perspective is different to how it was then.



posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 09:11 AM
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I tend to not trust my memories anyway. Just because time and like a poster above me said the memories change based on your current perspective. There are memories from my childhood that feel very real but when talked about with my Mom or another family member there memory of the same event is totally different. So who is correct? Me or my Mom or neither? I'm going with neither.



posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 09:44 AM
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reply to post by Doc Velocity
 




I've heard of memories that were "blocked out" by the subconscious, but that doesn't mean they were overwritten. It's more likely they were just caged up in a shuttered room way back in the back of the mind, where they forever lurk in a neurochemical stasis.


If you mean a permanent irreversible erasing, IMO it can't be done.

According to Gnostic literature, based in the teachings of the Egyptian School of Mysteries and also Hindu Vedantas, the human mind has 49 levels that make up the unconscious and subconscious. The modern psychology claims that human's personality have 3 elements: Ego, Superego and ID, but according to Gnosticism there are hundreds of thousands of psychic elements attached in the Ego. A real legion of psychic imperfections formed by mistook mental impressions of life. Our life karma, in this case bad karma, usually is increased due to mechanic mistakes we do, along the life, caused by these fake mental impressions (Maya). The issue is that the karma builds a magnetic "image" of our actions in our life. Like the same data burned many times in a CD-RW. And we carry this "life media" in all life we live.
The point is: Even if there was some scientific way of "turn-off" parts of the neural web, the karma is impressed in our life. The science can build a machine that erases your memories in this life, they can even find a way to block as many mental levels as possible and lock as many psychic elements as possible, as many time they can. But we gonna die and we gonna re-birth and we gonna carry our life CD with data from past life. Believe you or not, the current body can access memories from past life. You know, you have a brand new brain but it can't avoid to access your past life sh*t.
In few words: We're f*****!!

It's not true, actually. According to Buddhism, Hinduism and Gnosticism it's possible to fight undesirable psychic elements, dissolve many aspects of ego, clean bad karmas... Gnostic schools have a didactic manual to reach these self transformations.

Well, right now, people here on ATS that works or are studying psychology are saying "This dude needs therapy and some medicine".
Now seriously, everyone that had/has those deja vu sensations, is experiencing what I just told here. Also dreams with unknown places, unknown people and when we meet people we never saw before, but we get very familiar with... Gnosis teaches an exercise named "self-observation" and the title is self-explanatory. A diary self-watching of our behavior with other people and everything we interact, can make we capable to access past life memories, voluntarily.

Nice thread btw!!!



[edit on 3-3-2010 by ucalien]



posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 10:32 AM
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Current neuroscience is unable to ‘wipe off’ memories. Perhaps one day when mankind finally mapped out human ‘neural map’ – identifying each and every 33 billion neurons and its function, a more evolutionary leap than DNA mapping, and find the location of a memory based on cellular growth can that growth’s synapse be ‘snipped off’ or ‘radiated’ away. (Synapses are the ‘bridges’ for neurons to pass chemical or electrical signals to another cell)

Till then, memories are immortal, as long as we live, and those who know about us lived.

Rather than to go down to the cellular level to solve problems, our minds are fully capable to deal with unwanted memories. First, you will have to deal with it, face up to it, bravely confront it and learn from it.

Only in accepting and rationalizing the event, can you come to terms with the memory, and then file it away to deal with other presently forming soon to become memories, which are the realities you face daily.

In your free time, something may trigger that memory, but if you had come to terms with it, it will no longer sadden you, or gladden you, for it is already a past event, something you can never return to, something you can never change or alter.

Within you lay free will – a highly evolved energy source some attribute it to religious or spiritual output, above all biological matter, to move on and think of other issues that the 33 billion neurons in your mind are capable of retrieving for you, or to linger constantly on that one issue, replaying it like a cd player on replay mode.

Just my 2cts contribution for consideration and I must add I am no neurologist or philosopher, only just an average john doe.



posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 11:03 AM
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Originally posted by Death_Kron
If you know that particulary memory shaped part of your neural growth then your still remembering the memory thus it hasn't been erased.

Well, actually, I was making an observation, to wit: Even the smallest memory shapes the growth of your neural matrix. Should you remove that specific memory, the neural matrix remains influenced by its presence even though the memory is no longer there.

I wasn't saying I was aware of the way this memory had influenced my neural growth. In fact, the only thing I can say about that memory is that it's gone. I can't even tell you what it was. I know it was there, a bitter old thing, and I exerted... well... something... and it was just gone.

I immediately felt disoriented, and this lasted a few minutes.

Now I don't even know how to cross-check the results, because I don't know what I'm looking for. It's like selective, voluntarily self-inflicted amnesia!

Everything else seems to be functioning normally, but whatever it was is no more.

— Doc Velocity



posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 11:17 AM
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Originally posted by cjcord
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet did it better.


Wasn't there also a voluntary effort to forget scene at the end of the movie Sphere, with Dustin Hoffman and Sam L. Jackson? Then they all just looked around at each other, like, What?

I'll tell you something, there were a lot of people who wanted to voluntarily forget Sphere.



— Doc Velocity



posted on Mar, 3 2010 @ 11:19 AM
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Originally posted by Doc Velocity
I know it was there, a bitter old thing, and I exerted... well... something... and it was just gone.


But surely if you remember that it was a "bitter old thing" you still remember what it was.

I don't think you have erased the memory, I think you have

repressed
the memory.



posted on Mar, 4 2010 @ 09:27 PM
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Might be off topic. Might not.

The philosopher John Locke stated that who we are is based on our memories. I know it seems like there are problems with this but he explained that the person and the man are separate. The man is the biological component and the person is comprised of the memories. Therefore you can be the same man and not be the same person.

That being said, It is quite possible we could voluntarily erase our own memories and the result would be that we are not the same person but we are still the same man.



posted on Mar, 8 2010 @ 05:37 PM
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to be or not to be. Remember or not. Interesting debate is'nt?

I think that it could be possible to erase a memory by hypnosis, by an electroconvulsive therapy or with a coktail of drug.... Or by increasing the memory with a kind of false memory like an update or a premade script you know...?

I also believe, as Ucalien, that our personality, is based on a multitude of psychics elements. Losing one memory can change your Identity but not your spirit. And not for ever. There was some natural protection that whas call a memory fossil inprint. Its like a "dejà-vu" feeling.

And I believe that this inprint is like a mecanism to protect our integrity. And to make the puzzle if we lose some piece of it....Like a back-up you know?

But to do so, the subject as to desire to find the truth and not to be afraid of it. If some memorie can make someone is mental healthness, this is a natural protection to forget it. In post-traumatic syndrome the victims is protecting itself by choosing counsiously or not to forget.





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