What would happen if we ALL forgot who we were?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by SlowMo, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. #1 SlowMo, Oct 7, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2014
    I've been considering the role that memory plays in human strife. As a result, I've been toying with a kind of SiFi scenario where all human memories are simultaneously wiped out and all of humanity and its behaviors are forced entirely into the present, with minimal influence from our mind's perspective of the past other than books, films, etc. We could learn about who we WERE.
    Suppose that the Roswell (and other) aliens were actually a team of E.T. scientists that are here to conduct a specie-wide experiment on humans. The purpose of the experiment is to determine whether, how, and to what degree humanity would either progress or regress, evolve or devolve, should all of their individual and collective memories of their life experiences be completely blotted clean at the same time. Motor skills and the like would remain intact but the entire human race would completely forget who they were and would have no memories of their previous lives. The aliens perform this de-memorization of the specie and humanity suddenly finds itself looking out on a world with a perspective that's entirely free from the past. How would it behave?
    Brief background
    The good
    Memory is a bit of a two-edged sword. It provides continuity of experience and pretty much defines our mental pictures of who we are and what our lives are about, not only as individuals but also on the various collective levels as well. So also, we learn and use memory to avoid having to “reinvent the wheel” and make survival that much easier. 
    The Bad
    However, memory is also the primary fuel for the engines of human strife!  No memories would also imply no grievances, no bitterness, and no inner desire for vengeance - at least at the very start of the experiment. Most, if not all, of our current scaffolding of animosity would suddenly cease to exist! I think that would be an interesting theme for a sci-fi story that also, “under the hood”, examines one of the main engines driving our petty hatreds, wars, and general inability to “get along”.
    Your ideas?
    So, what do you think it would be like if all of us suddenly forgot everything about ourselves? Would we begin to cooperate for survival? Would we suddenly be forced by our primal needs to turn into wild beasts? Would we, after hundreds or thousands of years, eventually end up back in the same kind of situation we find ourselves today? Any thoughts?

  2. i would love to forget who i think i am.....damn ego is slowing me down
  3. #3 yurigadaisukida, Oct 7, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2014
    The reason things are the way they are is because most humans act more on instinct than logic

    I don't think things would improve if we forgot, Wed just have to start over

    The world is actually in a pretty good spot right now. All this fear mongering about how first world.countries are doomed to fall, virus x, terrorism, its all bullshit

    Humanity has still come a long way

    "what is a bunny of fish?" - Christopher Brown
  4. With some tweaking this could totally be a sick book/movie plot
  5. Would this memory loss impact genetic effects, i.e. a predisposition, and succumbence, to alcholism? Would deeply-involved heroin addicts finally meet their doom? What about the millions of people driving their cars?
    I think there would be a huge worldwide death toll. Third world humans? Boiling their water? First world humans and their microwaves? Are there enough instruction manuals to keep the internet going? Satellites? Oil drilling? Factories?
    There are an incredible amount of possibilities to this question. RIP politics.
    Lots of possibilities - fer sure. Here's another one.
    A sweeping memory annihilation would probably throw everyone into wild beast mode at first as we all grew hungrier and supplies dwindled. But there could be some order evolve quickly as the need to cooperate on very local levels became more necessary and rewarding. It could end up being a mad race to discover the secrets of the pre-annihilation technological world, in order to keep it as functional as possible, before humanity's nutritional supplies and cooperative patience were exhausted.
    If the stricken people couldn't manage to maintain enough of the old technology to feed themselves, eventually the plundering mobs left standing would become the seeds for the future villages and towns, cities, counties, and nations. Most succeeding generations would learn from their parents, continuing in the strong tradition to misunderstand, misrepresent, and generally despise, hate, and desire to eliminate each other - just like today. :smoking: For their new, memory-based grievances, offenses, hatreds, and desires for vengeance (or, maybe from their perspective,  "justice") would present huge obstacles to cooperation and present zillions of future fertile fields for wars and vendettas of all kinds, just as they do today.
    So I suppose this scenario just sort of circles around and turns into the same old shit, different century.  :laughing:

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