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‘Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind’ is a philosophically provocative film which tracks the relationship of two main characters, Joel and Clemantine, in their search for happiness. Saddened with the heartbreak from ending their relationship, they both undergo a memory removal procedure to erase their memory of each other in order to eliminate their emotional suffering. As the film unfolds, it becomes clear that having a ‘spotless mind’ does not ensure ‘eternal sunshine’, contrary to what the title suggests. Instead, there is a sense of tragedy and loss which prevails as the unfortunate consequences of their decision transpires throughout the film. This essay attempts to analyse whether utilising such memory-removal technology can be justified as a good or bad thing; whether ignorance truly is bliss or if it is better to know the truth and suffer. It will also explore the affects of erasing memories on personal identity by discussing the concepts of philosophers such as John Locke and Thomas Reid. Questioning the use of memory removal technology as morally good or not may elicit a utilitarian response. Utilitarians would look to the consequences to decipher an answer. John Stuart Mill argues that for an action to be morally correct it must maximise overall happiness while avoiding suffering and pain. “If a memory-removal procedure can function in such a way that it brings about more happiness than would otherwise be possible, the use of such a procedure is not only justified, but in fact morally required on utilitarian grounds (Grau, 2006).” However, this may be disputed by the value placed on truth. Nozick refutes utilitarianism and other theories valuing happiness and pleasure in his thought experiment known as the Experience Ma... ... middle of paper ... .... ‘Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind’ ultimately comes to the conclusion that having a mind, clear of negative experiences, does not guarantee positive consequences. The idea of memory removal technology is morally questionable and is dependant on a higher value being placed on either pleasure or truth. Feelings of panic and confusion may also arise from the holes in memory which may in turn lead to a crisis of identity. One may loose memories that are important to their identity but they cannot loose the instincts and emotions evoked by them. Memories may be doubted yet the phenomenal state of intuition triggered by memory is strongly compelling. Therefore, a person may feel as though they have lost, or have gaps in, their personal identity when their memories fade, however, it has been argued that it is logically inconceivable to escape one’s personal identity.

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