Who are we? We are the sum of our experiences. If not, who are we, what are we really?
Shirley Schmidt: A sexual assault is traumatic. Carol Cabot: I realize that; of course, I do. Shirley Schmidt: Well, if you can lessen your daughter’s pain, why wouldn’t you? Carol Cabot: It works on the brain. For God sakes, the idea that you just take a pill every time something bad happens . . . Shirley Schmidt: That’s bad? Carol Cabot: It’s called life, and you can’t just erase the bad parts. Shirley Schmidt: Why not? Carol Cabot: Our best artists are informed by their pain. Our greatest heroes are born out of adversity. Certainly, if the trauma affects your life, treat it, either behaviorally or with medication. But some miracle amnesia pill, so you have no memory of bad things—what kind of brave new world are we entering into?
Warning: This is satirical comedy at its best in my opinion.
This case is about what makes us who we are. There are lots of answers, but certainly one possible answer is: We are the sum of our experiences, not just the good, not just the bad, but all of them. If we can take a pill and forget parts of our personal histories—who are we, then? When Arthur Hallam died, his best friend was shocked, grief-stricken, utterly inconsolable. But that best friend was the great English poet, Tennyson, who went on to write, “In Memoriam.” He immortalized his friend in verse and gave us one of the greatest poems in the English language. Imagine if Tennyson could have just taken a pill and forgotten about the whole thing.