How we perceive the world and how we act in it are products of how and what we remember (and the words we use to describe things). … No lasting joke, invention, insight, or work of art was ever produced by an external memory. …
Our ability to find humor in the world, to make connections between previously unconnected notions, to create new ideas, to share in a 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 source of our character. Competing to see who can memorize more pages of poetry might seem beside the point, but it’s about taking a stand against forgetfulness, and embracing primal capacities from which too many of us have became estranged. … Memory training is not just for the sake of performing party tricks; it’s about nurturing something profoundly and essentially human.