SUPPRESSING BAD MEMORIES: BOON OR THE ROAD TO HELL?
New drug to help us overcome mental pain stirs controversy
Is it one more step towards creating a perfect life on earth for mankind – or a stumble closer to the mind-control horror of Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’? This is the ethical debate raging after the release of the coyly-named “Mind-ease” tablet that erases ‘bad’ memories by suppressing the production of cortisol in the brain, the hormone related to memory recall.
The drug was initially released as a treatment for severe cases of post-traumatic stress, thus easing a terrible burden for hundreds of thousands of sufferers of tragedies ranging from rape to war to abuse. But quickly it has become the ‘new Prozac’, taken by millions of people as an effective stress-remover in everyday life.
Its opponents warn that Mind-ease is having the dangerous side-effect of suppressing guilt. “The awareness of right and wrong is what separates humans from animals. If we provide people with a pill that removes guilt, we destroy the moral underpinning of mankind,” declares human rights activist Manual Ortovio. The global group he spearheads has dubbed the drug “Mind-dis-ease.”
There’s no arguing that the world in 2017 has become deeply stressful. Crime, over-population, continued economic depression, pollution, frequent natural disasters and brutal conflict in many regions of the world seem to be the order of the day. People are desperate for some kind of escape.
Which no doubt explains massive sales of the new drug. The manufacturer, pharma giant PhizMerBMS, is smiling all the way to the bank.
“Stress is the single greatest disease of our time. When properly used, Mind-ease offers a practical, affordable solution,” says medical director Dr Sydney Horowitz. But can the drug be abused as a tool to “remove guilt” as its opponents claim?
“Any drug or medicine can become harmful when abused. Does this mean we should ban every drug on the market?”
Horowitz cites the case of a 26-year-old New York woman who was attacked and gang-raped in her apartment. “Her life was shattered. She was too scared to leave her home. She couldn’t sleep. Her relationship with her husband was on the rocks. But after using Mind-ease for just three months the memories of her attack have faded and she’s become a whole person again.”
So – boon or bane? Reality is always messy, and in the end it’s up to you to decide.
Warning: Hazardous thinking at work
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