The Value of Memory

“The great ancient rhetoricians considered a strong memory indispensable for their craft. Medieval and Renaissance thinkers turned out books and treatises on the art, containing elaborate systems to train the memory to store copious amounts of material and access it instantly. Today we stand amazed at the oratorical skills of political figures of the 19th century and shake our heads in dismay at the sloganeering and soundbites that pass for political discourse today. Our politicians rarely write their own speeches and seem incapable of delivering them without the aid of a teleprompter. Surely something precious has been lost. That something is our memory.”

Andrew Campbell, Living Memory, page 7

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