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Memories and Personality:
Explosion GodI know that this could go either way depending on the story, but I've been writing a plot where the main character, originally raised as a privileged, warmongering, backstabbing son of despot, has his mind ripped apart, and is raised by a different family and becomes a kindhearted, gentle young man. But my question is, what would happen to a person in that situation when they regain their memories? Would a situation ala Death Note unfold Where Light's JUST AS PLANNED Memory Gambit puts him right back where he started as the person he originally was or would it instead be more of a That Man Is Dead? I already know basically which way the story is going to go, but it made me wonder what would really happen if it ever happened in the real world and what kind of issues that would leave the character with.
edited 21st Oct '10 8:01:06 PM by bwrspark
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This foreboding is fa...As far as I can remember, this is actually something frequently debated by psychology/philosophy majors. Are we just the sum of our memories, or are we something more? Memories are re-evaluated in light of who we are now, but those memories affect who we are, etc. Personally I think the idea of a centralized identity is just a comforting fiction we've created. Which means the sudden influx of a bunch of memories probably wouldn't snap us back to our old "self", but merely pull our current "selves" in a different direction. Think about it: how often can you really understand the way you used to think? Also, interesting topic but it probably belongs in OTC . Heck, it might already be there.
Look, you can't make me speak in a logical, coherent, intelligent bananna.
It sounds to me like you solved your own problems. you said he was reduced to a Blank Slate that means his memories were either removed or erased (possibly with a copy). Then you said he went through some sort of rehabilitation creating a new personality (depending on your time line this could be weakish or strongish, childlike or adult, etc.) Which means, at least to me, that your character when reintroduced to memories of his past life will react as anybody would to memories that have somehow entered their head by drinking a potion or having a plug inserted into their skull. The memories feel real enough (maybe) but the continuity between who that person was and who he or she is now would be broken so it is likely, by my estimation, that they would treat such memories as alien to them-self. What the results are is irrelevant at this time, does the character become a new character or a reawakened old one bla bla) It would be a trickier thing to pull if his memories were suppressed in some way especially if they manifested slowly but the end result would be a new character. Philosophically the logic behind this is that the character can never be the same after his memories change the same way that people could change their body/mind/whatever to look younger but can't actually be younger without traveling through time. From the perspective of your character assuming he was not told the whole truth he experienced his childhood (a very different childhood from normal but childhood none the less) and was introduced to new memories or told about his previous existence from a book or person. On the other hand your the writer so go whatever direction you want with the guy is he a side character have a nasty laugh at his expense or maybe just a placeholder for the previous character (depending on your audience's point of view a older character or new character). do the new memories override "his" memories? they could if you say they can especially if you justify it in some way. EDIT: see also Heel-Face Brainwashing and Brainwashing for the Greater Good
edited 22nd Oct '10 4:16:34 PM by GiantSpaceChinchilla
edited 22nd Oct '10 11:55:05 PM by PsychoFreaX
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