As I get older the idea of our “many selves” that we are throughout our lives fascinates me more and more. I discussed the implications of this in some detail at my J.B. Priestley lecture at Queen Mary University a few weeks ago. I guess that my generation are the first to have video access (i.e. moving images with sound) from their early 30s onwards. I have long been known as an “early adapter” in that I have always loved technology and if something nice and “boy’s toys” lik…e comes on the market I will buy it. Although there were home movie recorders available in the 1960’s and 1970’s these were really only for the very rich. Indeed those of you born in the 1980’s onwards will probably have videos of your childhood and throughout your life, but for us “baby boomers” seeing a moving recording of yourself was a real novelty in the late 1980’s. I am sure that had the recordings of me and my associates going back to my childhood I would be even more fascinated. Going through the digitisation process of all these videos (the vast majority containing images of my previous relationship) are bringing about powerful memories. As I did most of the filming (and in those days I seem to be continually filming things) the events are recorded as they were seen through my eyes and heard through my ears. In effect I am “reliving” a whole series of holidays and incidents from my past. I really felt I was back there….. the years between just faded away. In the end we are just our memories, a central theme of my first book …. But now imagine an advance in technology whereby an artificial reality fully immersive recording machine becomes available for the mass market. If this becomes a reality then we can literally re-live recorded incidents and events from our past. In my forthcoming book I will be suggesting an additional application to this scenario … an amnesia pill. By taking this before entering the simulation we agree to have all our memories that have been laid down after the time of the recording temp wiped. In this case we could experience the recording as if we we were experiencing it for the first time. If this was the case then could we not extend this to a lifetime? As we approach death we can agree to have our memories wiped clean and go back to experience our whole life again as if it were the first time. This is the central proposal of the “Opening The Doors of Perception.” Those who have read my earlier books will correctly see this as an updating of my “Cheating The Ferryman” model.
I will be expanding on this idea in an short article that will be published in February’s edition of New Dawn Magazine.