This Thursday will mark the implementation of an EU new standard for handling data. According to CNN’s Richard Quest, it consists of three parts: Opt In, the Right to be Forgotten, and the Company burden. Out of these, the Right to be Forgotten is what I find most interesting, philosophically and psychologically.
Humans seem to have spent most of their lives trying to be remembered. Our ancestors draw on the caves, recorded annals, build statues, kept all kind of records, and even created a subject to study it: History, which is now more of science than storytelling. And yet, I am sure so many people will be pleased to have their right to be forgotten restored. But why?
Psychologically, we seem to like telling our version of history. We do not want any of the moments that put us in bad light to be recorded. Yet, we would like to assert our views on what happened. Even now that history is more of a science than storytelling, it is often in response of psychological need, e.g. repentance, that we revisit historical events to acknowledge just enough to meet these psychological needs. Perhaps this explains why no matter what scientifically supported historical explanations of events asserted by religions, e.g. biblical stories, we may have, no-one pays attention.
Philosophically, we were always fascinated and scared by death. The whole question of being in space, time, and nothingness. Perhaps Sartre’s nothingness that is catching up with us? Or perhaps the memory is what scares us as much as death. Every piece of data about each of us out there is a proof of us being in a space at some time ago, that has being deconstructed and it is no more. An existence that does not exist any more. A death of some sort.
Or perhaps it is simply: C’est la Vie!
May 22, 2018