Great. The meddlesome mad scientists are now poised to enable themselves to reprogram our brains:

Researchers have known for decades that memories are unreliable. They’re particularly adjustable when actively recalled because at that point they’re pulled out of a stable molecular state. Last spring, scientists published a study performed at the University of Washington in which adult volunteers completed a survey about their eating and drinking habits before age 16. A week later, they were given personalized analyses of their answers that stated—falsely—that they had gotten sick from rum or vodka as a teen. One in five not only didn’t notice the lie, but also recalled false memories about it and rated that beverage as less desirable than they had before. Studies like these point to possible treatments for mental health problems. Both PTSD and addiction disorders hinge on memories that can trigger problematic behaviors, such as crippling fear caused by loud noises or cravings brought about by the sight of drug paraphernalia.

It might sound all well and good to those who are not happy with certain memories and want them purged. But over the years, I have noticed the sneaky way that things which start out as a good idea, as something maybe worth having (like having running water, electricity, seat belts, fluorescent light bulbs, and perhaps soon even self driving cars) can become mandatory. So I don’t think it is a pure fancy of paranoia to imagine that the state might very well mandate brain reprogramming — even when people do not want it. The war on drugs (“cravings brought about by the sight of drug paraphernalia”) being a perfect foot in the door.

The contents of my brain (which after all is “me” for better or for worse) are mine, and the contents of other people’s brains belong to them. My memories are uniquely mine and mine alone. It is not for others to decide what is memories are undesirable and should be purged.

This ought to be a no-brainer, but for busybodies, nobody’s body and nobody’s brains are off-limits.