-In my story, my main character comes across an immortal being, chained and isolated under a mountain for countless years; subsequently losing memories from her past over time, while still being conscious and aware of her existence during the aeons.

Question: How long will it take for an immortal to lose all memories/ self-consciousness? Will being conscious affect the rate of memory loss? (Keeping in mind that she does not need basic human needs such as consuming food, water, human company etc.)

  • $\begingroup$ If your character is immortal but still does age, she can begin to experience senile dementia after age 65. $\endgroup$ – kikirex Jan 8 '19 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ Hi, Nass King, welcome to Worldbuilding! As of now, your question is too story-based. We don't know how your immortal being's biology is different from regular human's, and even for a regular human results may vary greatly. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Jan 8 '19 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ After a relatively short time sensory deprivation will cause hallucinations. Thus she will have memories but they will mostly be imaginary. She will probably be unable to distinguish the real from the dream - especially after she has been trapped for many years. A useful search term will be "sensory deprivation and memory" $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Jan 8 '19 at 18:23
  • $\begingroup$ One day I will write a generic answer someplace stating that if you have enough parameters undetermined, anything becomes random/arbitrary. This is very much answerable even without making massive assumptions on how this world could work if it was something else, but that answer is: anything you like. 5 minutes if you want to $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Jan 8 '19 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ @kikirex Thanks for your reply. I failed to mention that. I added it to the edit $\endgroup$ – Nass King Jan 8 '19 at 18:37

There are several studies that link torture to affect memory, this could cause her to forget her past or to create an alternative past.

"The researcher notes that studies of soldiers under extreme stress have shown that the soldiers have trouble recalling personal information, and that brain scans of torture victims have shown unusual patterns of brain activation." - Discover Magazine: Neuroscientist Says Torture Produces False Memories and Bad Intel

In other words torture make people create fake memories, forget crazy stuff even things like personal info.


Immortals are a funny thing, because as the world continues to change around them, they can see all their efforts changed and erased, or perhaps they are the driving force in the world changing things.

An immortal should have a purpose, not just to exist. With that purpose they can gain experience and memories, but without a purpose they should lose bits and pieces of themselves in say a generation as humankind forgets the immortal, so the immortal forgets themselves. Thusly being chained under a mountain would prevent such a being from having purpose and from humankind having memories of them which in your case could cause them to lose memories, powers and so forth. Which could also explain why the immortal remember a few things, as there are a few people with bits of knowledge in the world still remembering them.


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