I first wondered about this back in 2004. A couple of years later, 60 Minutes did a segment on one such drug. Now Dutch researchers claim to have erased bad memories by using ‘beta-blocker’ drugs, which are usually prescribed to patients with heart disease.
“The astonishing treatment could help sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder and those whose lives are plagued by hurtful recurrent memories. But British experts said the breakthrough raises disturbing ethical questions about what makes us human. They also warned it could have damaging psychological consequences, preventing those who take it from learning from their mistakes.”
Would I take such a pill? I think I might. I haven’t experienced more than my share of pain or trauma but if I’m a better person for it, I’m hard pressed to say how.
“But you are YOU because of the sum of your experiences, smays.com,” one might argue.
Yes, and I’d just be a different person if I took the pill and erased the memories. In fact, maybe I did take the pill. I wouldn’t remember, would I?
And before we leave this topic… how is this different from taking pills that alter our perception of this moment (Valuium, anti-anxiety meds, etc)?