Closing quote from the book ‘Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything‘ by Joshua Foer (2011). To describe it as a self help book about improving one’s memory is to miss the point. Well written, engaging, funny. A highly recommended read.
In support of training one’s mind to be better at memory versus the ease and accessibility of ‘external’ memories: the tools we have around us and rely on heavily each day (post its, diaries, smartphones):
“How we perceive the world and how we act in it are products of how and what we remember. We’re all just a bundle of habits shaped by our memories. And to the extent that we control our lives, we do so by gradually altering those habits, which is to say the networks of our memory. No lasting joke, invention, insight or work of art was ever produced by an external memory. Not yet at least. Our ability to find humour in the world, to make connections between previously unconnected notions, to create new ideas, to share in common culture: all these essentially human acts depend on memory. Now more than ever, as the role of memory in our culture erodes at a faster pace than ever before, we need to cultivate our ability to remember. Our memories make us who we are. They are the seat of our values and the source of our character.”