Black Mirror presents an episode of a time when people store memories they see in a chip placed behind their ear called “The Grain”. This chip records everything you have experienced since the grain was placed inside of you. The person with the grain can go back and review what was recorded like a movie which is referred to as a “re-do” in the episode. The main character, Liam, was able to get through airport security quickly and easily because of his grain. In addition, he was able to replay a memory to help him remember his wife’s friend’s name. Therefore, the viewer saw its benefits.
The most obvious disadvantage of the grain is presented throughout the rest of the episode. Liam couldn’t get over replaying the memories of Fife’s, his wife, actions around Jonas, the man Fife was cheating with. Liam was so caught up when Jonas said that he masturbates to previous sex partners he can see through re-do. When he found out that his wife had a thing with Jonas, he got drunk and physically forced him to delete the memories he had with Fife. He was able to figure out that his wife cheated recently on him and that maybe his daughter isn’t really his because of the grain memories as well, which may seem like a good thing but seeing his behavior was frightening because he became obsessed with re-do. His fixation was even evident at the beginning when Liam replayed his appraisal and Jeff replays the bad parts of his apartment. The Grain, in its commercial says, “Because memory is for living.” However, the characters are always re-doing their past which raises the question: What kind of life are you living if it’s always in the past?While it is a question that addresses the problem with the Grain in that it causes people to be nostalgic, I believe that Grain can actually help with people’s issue today; they are obsessed with capturing every moment. With updated technology, people have the opportunity to capture life’s every moment anywhere and anytime and they have become obsessed with doing just that. The Grain is a camera that never stops so we don’t have to be anxious about constantly having our cameras ready or whether we are well positioned for a good picture. Being consumed with needing to get a picture of every moment takes away from enjoying the moment we are capturing. Therefore, what kind of life are you living if it is not in the present? Maybe this isn’t everybody, but certainly any parent understands the anxiety I am referring to. Children usually only do special things once and it is hard to get them to do it again. A parent gets frustrated because they didn’t get it on camera and does anything to get the child to repeat it for the camera sometimes to no avail. Although this episode ended with a dramatic ending in which Liam ripping out The Grain from behind his ear indicating that it is bad for humanity, I look at it from a different light. The characters had an never ending camera which can allow us to just enjoy the moment. With the Grain, we don’t need to carry devices or stress about a moment being lost. I know this episode was warning against the dangers, but I can’t help think about how useful it can be.