Bookish Discussion: Memories and Fear

Two books I recently posted reviews on (The Machine and Allegiant) really got me thinking about two things: memory and fear.

In the world of The Machine it is possible to have painful memories erased from your mind.  In the book this often leaves people completely destroyed, only a shell of their former self.  There are also people in the book who are religious and feel strongly that memories are connected to a person’s soul and that shouldn’t be messed with.

Allegiant also deals with memory because one of the factions has a memory serum that can cause people to forget things.  The memory serum comes into play later in the book in a bigger way and some characters are conflicted about using it.  So the question arises, if you lose your memories, how much of you is really left?

What do you think?  Are memories connected to your soul?  Do you cease to be yourself if you can no longer remember important things about yourself or your life?

Perhaps the situation in The Machine is a bit extreme.  Many people who have amnesia may not remember certain things, but they are hardly as damaged as the people in the book were.  Then again, maybe their memory loss was from more natural, accidental damage to the brain, versus damage done deliberately using a machine.

And should one ever knowingly erase a person’s memories?  Is this acceptable if the person is a criminal, for example, and doing so would rehabilitate them instantly?  What if someone is suffering from incredibly painful memories that negatively affect their quality of life?  Would you ever want to forget something bad that happened to you?

Then there’s also the topic of fear.  This mainly came up in the Divergent series when people went through fear landscapes.  All their fears would come up in a simulation and they were forced to confront them.  In the book Tobias is known as Four because he only has four fears.

Would you want an opportunity to face all your fears?  Do you even know how many fears you have?  Would you want to know?  Do you think experiencing something similar to a fear landscape would be beneficial?  Would facing fears in a simulation resolve them so they would no longer trigger you in real life?

What are your thoughts on fear and memory?  Do you face the fears or just erase your memory and forget about them?  How do you feel about this topic?  Is there any situation where you would want to experience either of these?

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