At one time memory was highly valued. The Greeks and Romans had many techniques to enhance memory. They had memory palaces ad infinitum. They told epic sagas that lasted for days from memory. There were very few books so committing information to memory was essential if things were to run smoothly. They honed their minds so that their memories were reliable.
Children at school used to learn by rote – poems, times tables, all kinds of things!
Similarly, the Greeks and Romans spent much time and effort on honing their bodies and being as fit as possible.
Everything was internalised – they took responsibility for themselves.
As technology has progressed gradually over the centuries all these processes have been externalised and outsourced. Why spend time memorising phone numbers for example when an iPhone can do it for you?
When we put our backs out we go somewhere to get fixed, and when it goes wrong again we get fixed again! It’s easier than preventing the problem by changing something in ourselves. We’re handing responsibility for almost everything to something or someone else.
Is this progress by natural evolution? Or is it a backward step? Are we letting our minds atrophy through lack of use, and our bodies through misuse?
This is such an interesting question.
Using technology to advantage is obviously a good idea. But do we really want to lose skills which were once so highly valued? Can we find a balance ….
’til next time
Sign up for my mailing list to receive my blogs and event info