everybody's gotta learn sometime
Let us get this out of the way, too.
Mary is kind of selfish and a little rude, and I'm pretty sure she's violating not only her contract with Lacuna but possibly some laws. (Corporate espionage or something.)
Seriously, while she might be in a position to think the memory erasure is a bad idea, I don't think she really has the right to make that decision for every other client. Even inasmuch as I think all the memories, good and bad, are part and parcel of who and what we are, I think it is also--in the face of the existence of something like Lacuna--an individual's choice to erase those memories, to rip out a piece of her self to be someone new. I don't fault anyone choosing to be someone new. If I knew the old you, I might need some adjustment time, I might rail at the new you, rant about how the change was unnecessary, uncalled for. But, fuck it, you be who you need to be.
Imagine a guy--he's got enough money to pay whatever premium Lacuna puts on memory erasure, and last night he has a horrible night out, maybe hit on a girl and it went badly... should Mary be able to out him for his mistake?
There are memories worth erasing. But, they should probably be new, fresh...
See, there I go being judgmental again. If something like Lacuna existed, you ought to have the right to erase whatever the hell you want.
Still, Mary's a good example of why, in the situation of a relationship that is not singular in its moment, erasure would be a bad idea. She cannot help but still be attracted to Howard. The things that attracted her in the first place, regardless of what details in between have been removed--those things are still there. You cannot just erase the memory of some affair and keep the rest of life around it the same. It won't work. You'll just end up with a puzzle with a missing piece.
Mary just doesn't have the right to impose her will, her disappointment, upon everyone else. Self is a choice. Forget research--this is a big part of my upcoming Master's Thesis--I do believe that we choose to be who we are on a daily basis. We make choices with each and every interaction with everyone around us to present self. We choose with whom we interact. We choose how we interact. We choose what we do, what we don't do. It's all part of who we are. And, while there are obviously outside forces that decide what we can get away with, what we're supposed to do, supposed to be. Butler's performativity and whatnot. Society sets guidelines. We (generally) operate within those guidelines. But, however we can stretch our wings within those guidelines, and occasionally right over those stringent guidelines into new territory. Hell, even those stretches beyond the borders are defined in relation to what's normal, what's inside the guidelines. Performativity. Normativity. Self. Where the latter detaches and departs from the former--that's where life gets interesting. That's where we get to be our most interesting selves. That's where, if we're lucky, we can connect with other people on a deeper level than all that day-to-day crap that life allows. We can find love, we can find self-expression, we can find self.
And, Mary shouldn't get in the way of that. Even if she is named after the mother of God. She can't just decide for everyone else, because she feels robbed by the process that she chose for herself (though, to be fair, under duress), that they can't have chosen it. She the one who quotes Alexander Pope about "the world forgetting by the world forgot." She knows what this process entails. Hell, she could probably relate better knowing that she has gone through it. Instead, like a child, she has a tantrum and she acts out. Unfortunately for a lot of soon-to-be-confused people, she has a printer handy and a database of client addresses...
Let's be honest. We've all got memories we'd probably want to erase if it came to that. Things we wish we hadn't done, or had done. Choices we wish we'd made or didn't make. But, I've come to believe that I am better off for having every moment of my life behind me. The good the bad, the wonderful and the awful. The choices I have made--those are the choices I have made. Give me a do over and I'd make some changes. But, give me the chance to forget and I must pass. I need to be the combination of my good, my bad, my everything. I need to know what I am capable of. I need to know who I am. In the last couple years, in fact, this blog has been an outlet for that discovery. I am these words. I am the thoughts behind them. I am the actions around them. I am everything I have ever done and ever will do. Damn memory, damn imagination. This is me.
Me and my memories. Me and my dreams.