Thursday, 25 March 2010

Memory block

On radio 4 this morning, I heard an interview with a couple of academics discussing work done at Oxford University. AC Grayling and A Sandberg were talking about the possibility of blocking or erasing painful memories. I cannot believe the utter pointlessness of this exercise. We are born, good and bad things happen to us, we die.
We can seek help in learning to live with traumatic events if necessary, but they make us who we are, even if that isn't a little ray of sunshine every day. If this was a couple of guys just chatting about possibilities, I wouldn't mind, but this involves experimenting on living animals of course, giving them severe pain, mucking about with their brains and trying out drugs so that some bloody pharmaceutical company can cash in on some miracle cure for the blues. I think of all the animals, including the poor primates imprisoned at the Oxford torture lab, awaiting their fate. Meanwhile the SPEAK campaign goes on to free them and I wish them every success.
But what also shocked me was the final comment from one of the two interviewees when asked something along the lines of "Do you think in the future, we'll look back on this time and be surprised that we ever endured painful memories?"
The reply: "oh yes, in 200 years time there will be 7ft healthy blonds who will be amazed at how we used to be" Gives some insight into his vision of an 'improved' society.


Sarah said...

I would be very surprised if A C Grayling were involved with - or even implicitly condoned - animal experiments. For a start he's a philosopher, not a scientist; he's at London not Oxford, and I believe he is also an advocate of animal rights; he is certainly a longstanding vegetarian. I have no idea about the other guy though.

Anonymous said...

Yep, Anthony Grayling, philosopher. Did you check out the link for the programme? They were discussing the 'exciting' research done at Oxford.
I don't imagine he's dirtied his own hands with animal experiments. I prefer to think it wasn't a philosopher who made that final comment!
- Carrie