Clint Archer – Blank Slate: Forgive Us Our Debts as We Forgive Our Debtors

Henry Gustav Molaison was born in 1926. After a bicycle accident at the age of nine, he suffered tremendously from constant epileptic seizures that slowly grew in severity. When he was twenty-seven years old Henry underwent a radical surgery to remove small parts of the medial temporal lobes of his brain in an attempt to control the seizures. The surgery achieved its goal: the seizures stopped. But it soon became evident that there was a problem. As an unforeseen side-effect of the surgery Henry now suffered from anterograde amnesia, i.e. severe short-term memory loss.

Henry was totally unable to learn anything new. He could recall life before his surgery—he knew his name, retained all the skills and information he had acquired in his education, and he could complete crossword puzzles printed before 1953 with ease. But he could now only engage with reality in short snatches.

Each morning Henry woke up expecting his surgery to happen that day, believing he was twenty-seven years old, though in reality, he lived to be eighty-two.

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