August 8, 2012

Humans with no memories aren't humans at all.

Last night, as I was trying to go to sleep, my brain wouldn't shut down. Strange things pop into my mind when I'm sleepy. A certain thought occupied my mind last night: what if humans didn't have the capacity to store memories?

At first, I thought a couple things would change--for example, you wouldn't be able to have relationships because you wouldn't remember the person the next day. You couldn't have a job, because you wouldn't remember to go back to work the next day. You couldn't swim, drive a car, ride a bike, cook your favorite meal (you wouldn't even HAVE a favorite meal without remembering what it was) or do simple math.

Then, I started thinking on a broader level. Society would fall completely if humans didn't have memories. Cities wouldn't be able to operate. We would be reverted to primal human beings and become nomads. Why would anyone stay in one place if there were no memories tying them there? We would become hunters and gatherers. The only things we would know would be instinct on how to obtain our basic necessities: food, water, shelter.

I started thinking on an even broader scale. Now, let me know if I lose you here, because this is a bit of a stretch. But life itself would change for the human race, because we would have no concept of time. Chronological sequence, the way we understand life, wouldn't exist. Everything would happen in bursts instead of in a linear sequence. If we couldn't remember the "before", there would be no "after"; there would only be right now, and right now, and right now again.

I wonder if this would ultimately be freeing for the human race, or if it would destroy us from the inside. Are we meant to live together or walk alone? Would it unravel the fiber we're made of if we lived without purpose, but only for survival? Would be become like animals?

This really stuck in my head, and I can't stop thinking about it. It's like a science fiction novel in my brain. We can't really even imagine what it would be like to have no grasp on the past, or not know what the past is. I can't imagine what it would be like to look into the eyes of my child or husband and feel no familiarity or warmth.

To me, a world without memories would be a very cold and brutal one.

What do you think?

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