Immortality/Perfect Memory

Immortality and perfect memory are two frightening abilities that we believe no one has. To be able to live forever, or to remember everything, could be considered both a blessing and a curse. Which would you rather be? Immortal, yet forgetting both unimportant and important things as you go, or mortal and never being able to forget any moments of you life. Is one any easier to bear than the other?

Immortality means that you live forever. Being able to witness the infinity of time first hand. The day an immortal is conceived the infinity of their life begins. An immortal would forget some of their ordeals, because how can anyone without perfect memory remember an infinite number of experiences and names. They would see trends and knowledge lost and found repeatedly. Everything from world power to clothing styles changing, but only going around in circles. Things like treatment of women and minorities improving, then going down hill again. To see people making the same mistakes generation after generation must make an immortal, who's seen it all before, want to pull out all their own hair. They would either have to try to help the world change, or go mad.

Having perfect memory is not all that different from being immortal. The people with perfect memory are able to die, unlike immortals, but that doesn't make their torment any easier to bear. The people with perfect memories remember everything from their first breath to their most embarrassing moment with perfect clarity. These people could read every book they could find and remember it all. They could help the world by observing the patterns in our history, through books, that the immortals would perceive through experience. The memories and knowledge would clog up the mind of anyone with perfect memory. That crowding of memories could push them over the edge just as easily as being immortal could drive someone insane.

Compare the mind of someone with perfect memory, or an immortals numerous experience, with MC Escher's print Cubic Space Division. The print could be compared to the storage of memories in the brain of a person with perfect memory, or with the vast experiences of someone that lives forever. The print shows infinite number of large cubes and the long cubes that connect them. Those cubes are much like the neurons in the brain, and the cause and effect of events. Neurons depend on each other to carry on important messages, events are affected by experiences, and the cubes in Escher's print depend on each other to hold each other up. They are all dependent on each other for survival and for doing what they are supposed to do to get the job done. However there is also an unending repetitiveness in all of these things. The long cubes in Escher's print could keep you going in circles, as could memories and experiences.

The choice between being immortal and having perfect memory is one I'm glad I will never deal with (at least I hope not!). The bad points to both are extreme deterrents. The good points, like helping the world, are definitely outweighed by the down-sides of these qualities. What good would I be if I was immortal, or had a perfect memory, but my brain was too clogged with useless memories to do anything worth while? Neither of these two options really appeal to me. I do not want to remember all of the stupid things that I've done. Nor do I wish to live forever so I can do more incredibly stupid things than I'm already going to do. Finally, I know that if I were immortal or had perfect memory I would lose my mind, and I'm always being told that I have none to spare.
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