Memory is one of the oldest mental skills from which all others derive. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to remember and we couldn’t follow the rules that make all other mental functioning possible. When a person has nothing to remember, life can become severely impoverished.
“A person who can remember stories, poems, lyrics of songs, baseball statistics, chemical formulas, mathematical operations, historical dates, biblical passages, and wise quotations has many advantages over one who has not cultivated such a skill. The consciousness of such a person is independent of the order that may or may not be provided by the environment. She can always amuse herself, and find meaning in the contents of her mind. While others need external stimulation -- TV, reading, conversation, or drugs -- to keep their minds from drifting into chaos, the person whose memory is stocked with patterns of information is autonomous and self-contained. Additionally, such a person is also a much more cherished companion, because she can share the information in her mind, and thus help bring order into the consciousness of those with who she interacts. -
How can one find more value in memory? The most natural way to being is to decide what subject one is really interested in . . . If you decide what you would like to have in memory, the information will be under your control, and the whole process of learning by heart will become a pleasant task, instead of a chore imposed from the outside. . . . Of course there is always a danger that the person who has mastered a domain of information will use it to become an overbearing bore. We all know people who cannot resist flaunting their memory. But this usually occurs when someone memorizes only in order to impress others. It is less likely that one will become a bore when one is intrinsically motivated--with a genuine interest in the material, and a desire to control consciousness, rather than in controlling the environment. - (123-124)
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