Monday, April 13, 2009

'You Will Forget' - The Doctor Will Fix You Now?

"The Messy Future of Memory-Editing Drugs"
Wired Science (April 10, 2009)

"The development of a drug that controls a chemical used to form memories sparked heady scientific and philosophical speculation this week.

"Granted, the drug has only been tested in rats, but other memory-blunting drugs are being tried in soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder. It might not be long before memories are pharmaceutically targeted, just as moods are now...."

Now That Your Childhoods Fears and Neuroses are Gone, Along With Most of Your Personality - - -

Can't remember where I saw the comedy skit that started with something like that.

We could be in for an interesting phase of medicine. I can remember the waning days of lobotomies, and other (I trust) well-intentioned procedures like electroshock therapy.

Doctors and medical engineers are more sophisticated now: it isn't necessary to stick an icepick into someone's head and wave it around to cure the patient. Soon we'll have a drug that'll do the trick: with no muss, no fuss!

We Can Forget it For You: Wholesale

(Tip of the hat to Phillip Dick's "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" (pdf, at Open System Lab, Indiana University).)

Don't get me wrong: I really appreciate contemporary medicine ("Lemming Tracks: If Auto Mechanics Were Like Doctors" (March 20, 2009)). It's nice to live in an age where an old coot like me can get some original equipment swapped out and replaced with shiny new parts.

On the other hand, I remember what happened when "Doctor knows best," and bothersome people were made into nice, docile, subjects.

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