Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Quote of the Day

with one comment

For a person who has nothing to remember, life can become severely impoverished. This possibility was completely overlooked by educational reformers early in this century, who, armed with research results, proved that “rote learning” was not an efficient way to store and acquire information. As a result of their efforts, rote learning was phased out of the schools. The reformers would have had justification, if the point of remembering was simply to solve practical problems. But if control of consciousness is judged to be at least as important as the ability to get things done, then learning complex patterns of information by heart is by no means a waste of effort. A mind with some stable content to it is much richer than one without.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow

Written by nevalalee

June 18, 2018 at 7:30 am

One Response

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  1. I wish I had been taught more rote learning. I really suck at it. But I’m sure years of practice would have improved my abilities. I’m always impressed when someone is able to throw out quotes, poems, and songs form memory.

    It’s true that past generations had better rote memory than present generations. But that was also true even in the past. Memory ability has been on the decline for millennia at this point. That is what became obvious in reading Lynne Kelly’s work on pre-literate mnemonic systems.

    Tribal people used to be able to memorize the equivalent of a full encyclopedia of knowledge: geography, history, genealogy, laws, customs, rituals, songs, dances, edible foods, poisonous plants, animal behavior, hunting techniques, tool making, etc. Absolutely freaking intricate knowledge down to how wind sounds in various plants.

    It puts the rote learning of Western civilization to shame, even at its height of achievement in past centuries.

    Benjamin David Steele

    June 19, 2018 at 10:00 am

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