In our technology world, we have a simple button that deletes our history without making any effort. Nowadays, everyone insists having that button in real life, even in our minds; everyone thinks being able to erase some of our memories is priceless, but do they think of the consequences?
What makes us human is our ability of thinking, at least that’s what Aristotle said. We think about everything; in a emergency we think of a way-out, in a funeral we think of how cruel life is…”Cogito, ergo sum” means “I think, therefore I am”. Descartes explains that quote as “That we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt, and that this is the first knowledge we acquire when we philosophize in order.”
If we were able to delete our memories, what options would we have? Having only one ‘button’ is not enough for our highly developed minds. We have 2 types of memories: Long-term and short-term. Our short-term memory is the information we are currently thinking about or are aware of, basically our ‘at the moment’ memory. Our long-term memory has 4 types: Explicit, implicit, autobiographical, Memory and Morpheus.
Explicit memory basically helps us to remember what we ate last night or who we were talking to. That type of memory also connects memories together. For example when you see the word ‘Sun’ you may remember your funny sunburn you got last summer. Deleting this kind of memory is something that we must not think of, not even a part.
Implicit memory is way more complicated to explain in words. It actually allows you to do things by rote but you do that without any consciousness. It flows effortlessly in our actions. For example driving a car or writing. Deleting this kind of memory is unnecessary because we don’t need to delete something that we will learn later, but as humans we don’t know what we will need 3 seconds later so having these abilities are crucial for us. It shouldn’t be deleted.
Autobiographical memory helps us to remember one specific memory better than everybody else. We can delete it but then we would have no unique and special memories only for us. If you want to delete this type of memory, you would delete your 12th birthday party that you fell in love or 18th birthday party that your parents bought you a car.
Memory and Morpheus helps us encoding different kinds of memories in non-REM and REM (Rapid eye movement). For example, it helps how to do things with procedural memory such as learning a new dance step or riding a bicycle. We can’t delete them because it is impossible to delete something while you are sleeping because when you are asleep, you have no conciseness.
Lastly, deleting our memories is something that will have consequences better or worse. If you delete your memories, you would delete your past and without past, there is no future, I think.