I’ve just finished watching the brilliant Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I’m a big Jim Carrey fan and he’s constantly reminding me why in films like this. It’s definitely one of those movies that leaves you thinking about all sorts of things, and if you haven’t seen it, you should. But, if you’re going to, I would certainly suggest maybe not reading this for fear of a spoiling it for you.
It centres around a young man and woman that each clear their memories of each other because of her unhappiness and his anger that she did hers. All is well until he’s going through each memory before it’s erased and he realises that he doesn’t want them erased, and this got me thinking – Why would anyone want to erase a memory like that… Or any memory at all?
A memory can be found in several ways. It can hit you when you’re least expecting, by even just the smallest sense being touched. And our past, is our past. For the all the hurt and pain, there is also happiness and ecstasy. And most importantly, it makes us who we are. We learn from our mistakes, and we grow. And, I can’t help but think that without these memories we’d be bland drones, all on auto-pilot.
One of the many noteworthy quotes was this: “I wish I had stayed too. NOW I wish I had stayed. I wish I had done a lot of things. I wish I had… I wish I had stayed. I do.” I know how he feels. I know that ‘I wish’ feeling well. Regret offers many issues, and along with it, you’ll want to either go back, or erase it. But doesn’t enough regret force you to stop wanting to feel it again?
How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
– “Eloisa to Abelard” Alexander Pope
I dunno. Maybe it’s just me, but I could never erase a memory. And there can’t be a double standard of “only erasing the bad ones” because we will always need the comparison of the two. Both sides of the coin. The contrast. All just there to be able to show you how good the good really was without forgetting the bad that got you to the good in the first place.
The movie showed the two main characters finding each other again, after each memory had already gone. They fell in love all over again. You can erase the memory, but if it’s meant to be, it’ll happen. Perhaps it was their second chance at fate? So, even though the movie left me a little melancholy, maybe it showed that despite it all, you can always go back to square one and try it all over again…