We all have things we’ve done in our lives that we’d rather forget. Honestly, think about it, we’ve all made mistakes, we all have regrets.
I loved the story about the Miss World competition a few years ago. The presumptive winner was this stunning, if a little stupid, Philippino woman. In their jovial way the judges asked her a plethora of silly, cute, questions just perfect for her to give adorable answers to. She was just meant to win but… when hit with the question “what’s your biggest regret?” she answered in “honestly I can say that I’ve never made a mistake in my life!”
… so of course, she didn’t win. She was reviled for it and lost hopelessly to a more humble contestant. The righteous anger amongst the judges and audience was intense, they were indignant, “how dare she say that!” … “she’s not perfect!”. Ironic really for a competition who’s remit it is to seek out perfection. One that rewards and champions idiocy but tries to hide it behind a thin of veil of questions that you can give answers like ‘World Peace!’ to.
So, if you were her, what would you have said? Now I’m not suggesting she should have broken down on stage and revealed that she’d changed her dying grandmother’s will in her favour but… you know, she could have at least tried!
What’s the one thing you’d go back in change? If you weren’t being asked by judges, and no one would know that it had ever happened. Like you could take the tip-ex to your biography and just, edit stuff out.
Maybe you’ve got more than one. I know I have, tonnes of it.
Would you do it? Grab that magic tip-ex and get erasing!
Ok, for the sake of argument, let’s say this tip-ex wasn’t quite so advanced, it was still going through clinical trials maybe. Maybe it was a little trigger happy (look, lots of mixed metaphors!) and erased more than one or a few events, what if it took years or even decades away?
The old saying goes, perception is everything. So what is this tip-ex just took away your recollection of those events, those moments or decisions you’d rather forget. Would you still use it?
Let’s think of it this way, what if taking away your memory of, and the way you’ve been shaped by those events, was all you needed. Does that change things? Maybe, if you don’t remember it, what does it matter? Are you absolved?
Why not, if you have no idea what your past transgressions were, you can’t realistically be held responsible for them.
Is a sort of selective, partial, amnesia a way to wipe your history slate clean? Both how you recall it and the way other people have been affected by it.
Wouldn’t it be great. A break with the past, the chance to reinvent yourself, forgiveness from yourself above all else, then perhaps from others. Perhaps if you’ve forgiven yourself by forgetting, isn’t that what’s most important? Would this forgiveness be given though? We’ve heard about people who commit crimes in their sleep, they’ve been acquitted too. Or how about diminished responsibility, people who cannot be reasonably held responsible for their actions because they were sick… It’s possible.
Does your being unaware of something, make it irrelevant? We can’t consider things we’ve never heard of it, is this any different?