Chapter 3: The Possibilities of the Memory
The memory can be trained. There is no need of constantly forgetting. It’s possible to acquire knowledge, learn names, and identify faces in such a way as to be able to recall them at pleasure. How pleased people are when we remember them. There is no need of forgetting what we have learned, providing we have learned it in the right way. There is no limit to the capacity of the memory. No one has ever learned so much that he cannot learn more. History furnishes wonderful accounts of memory achievements. Muretus, the French teacher of the sixteenth century, states he had a pupil, a young Corsican, who could repeat forward and backward 36,000 unconnected words after hearing them but once. It was said of Dr. Johnson that he never forgot anything he had seen, heard, or read. Cyrus is said to have known the name of every soldier in his army. Tertullian, the great Church Father, devoted days and nights to memorizing the Scriptures, and got much of them by heart so accurately that he knew the very punctuation of them. To show the possibilities of memory training in old age, I refer to a New York editor who stated how, at age seventy-four, he began in a systematic way to commit Scriptures to memory. In a short time was able to repeat a considerable part of the New Testament. Age is no barrier to success in memory training.
Chapter 4: What is Memory?
Memory is our natural power of retaining what we learn and of recalling it on every occasion. It is a distinct faculty of the mind, different from perception, judgment, and reason. A good memory has three qualities: (1) the power to receive with comparative ease the words and phrases to be learned; (2) the power to store and retain them in the mind for an indefinite length of time; and (3) the reliableness to recall upon every proper occasion the words learned. Bad memories and weak memories can be overcome by strengthening and training.