Originally created 01/18/06

Do we really want scar eraser?



Gary Redding recently made note of the unrealized value of scars.

In the year's first "Business by the Book" monthly luncheon speech at his First Baptist Church of North Augusta, the pastor recalled the "scar" scene in Jaws in which the characters proudly show off their old wounds. They're two sheets to the wind, and trying to out-macho each other, but the point is universal, Redding argues: Scars are visible proof that something difficult and painful was overcome.

Remembering past pain can be therapeutic, if done in moderation. Maybe it reminds you of something not to do in the future. Certainly it should serve as a souvenir of your ability to conquer injury and hurt - a bit of reassurance that you can handle what's to come.

We also can find a tremendous amount of meaning in our suffering. One of the most meaningful things a human being can do is turn a tragedy into a triumph.

Thus, it is with some trepidation that we recently read of scientists' efforts to fashion a pill that would minimize the bad memories in your brain. The pill, now being tested, would block the chemicals your brain uses to categorize and store the memories of traumatic events.

We understand the compassion behind the effort. Perhaps a medicine could be devised, the thinking goes, that would reduce or even prevent the incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Perhaps in extreme cases such a pill could be a magic bullet. But in the vast majority of cases, we have to believe it's better to meet trauma head-on. People are not only destined to meet with tragedy on occasion, but are also challenged to deal with it. And it's best if we do so in as upright a manner as possible. It makes you a better person - stronger, wiser and more empathetic toward others and their sufferings.

It often leaves scars, no doubt.

But that's not necessarily all bad.