The Memento pill – the key to a successful marriage & to happiness?
I would like us to make an exercise of thought together. Let’s try to transpose ourselves to the not-so-distant future, where supposedly a new type of pill has been invented that suppressed your ability to build long-term memories. It lasts a few hours, after which your memory-building ability is fully restored and you suffer no side-effects. Sounds nice? I named it, for simplicity’s sake, the "Memento pill" from the poor guy (Leonard) that Guy Pierce was playing in the excellent movie Memento and was unable to build any new memories.
Now… is this a trait that somebody would like to have? Would such a pill become a successful, marketable product? It sure didn’t work very well for Leonard in the movie; it was much more a curse than a blessing. Nevertheless, I have some arguments to convince you otherwise, and I’m gonna try.
You see, I start from a core issue at the foundation of human existence regarding happiness
whatever gave you pleasure this time is bound to give you a bit less pleasure the next time you experience it.
You might not like what you’re reading, you might even try & find a few exceptions… but this is a general rule and it is very, very difficult to circumvent it in the long term. You can intuitively verify its validity by taking a memory trip back to your childhood, where you were able to take joy in the little things. Every new toy gave you pleasure (for a while), every new kid was a friend that you could enjoy playing together, every new place you went was a marvelous set of new experiences that unfolded as you explored it. But now… what about now? Everything may seem as one of the same, the people that can really give you pleasure are very few, the places you go & visit are not that awe-inspiring anymore, the experiences you live in your daily life are repeating, the salary you get deposited at the end of the month feels nothing like the first salary you got in your teen years where you first picked up a summer job, the sex with your partner has lost its spark, heck you’re even trying hard nowadays to find a good movie to watch that is not one-of-the-same-old. I hope I proved my point.
So, coming back to the pill, let’s say now that you have the opportunity to switch off your memory building ability for a while. This can be very inconvenient or even dangerous in some cases, like your neighbor asking you to lend him $100 for a few days, or your child asking you to pick him up from school in the afternoon because the schoolbus isn’t available today.
At the same time, I see some very good opportunities for using this pill, and these can have staggering differences to our long-term happiness, if done correctly. They must be experiences that are time-boxed, in relative isolation and oriented towards pleasure. The first that comes to mind is… sex. Let’s say that you and your partner pop one of those pills everytime before doing the boogie! Everytime is going to be just like your first time, giving you a supposedly endless well of pleasure that can fuel your love for many years to come! I know that communication is the best recipe for marriage success, but… a lustful night every other night that feels like new every time should be a close second.
And it doesn’t have to be only about sex. You could do that even before watching a movie. That way you could experience intense emotions with every new thriller, laugh with the same comedy jokes again and again, etc.
You see? Such an invention would have the potential to multiply your opportunities to receive pleasure from the world till the end of your days. Who needs drugs then? The world is full of pleasure around us, and it would remain to be so, by this minor tweaking of our brain.
Convinced? Now let’s sit tight and wait, until a pharma company invents it 🙂