Memory Quotes – 3

“Collect as precious pearls
the words of the wise and virtuous”
~ El Amir Abdelkader 
Oscar Wilde - known for his clever quotes and witticisms

Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright and poet, 1854-1900, probably best known today for his epigrams.

Oscar Wilde, a playwright of extraordinary talent, is probably celebrated more today for his off-the-cuff (though no doubt often laboriously and carefully crafted) remarks than his wonderful plays. It’s a sad comment on the laws of the time, and society as a whole, that he was hounded and criminalised for nothing more than the way he was born, and lived the last years of his life abroad, in self-imposed exile.

It’s gratifying to see that in some respects at least there is nowadays more tolerance of an individual’s lifestyle. In this last hundred years we’ve seen some of the greatest changes in history, and all happening at an ever increasing speed. The standard of living, for many at least, has increased dramatically. Science has advanced by leaps and bounds, while the world, sadly, has seen wars on an unimaginably destructive scale.

Communications have advanced at a gallop too – where once there was just a ‘wireless’ (that’s radio, for the very young!), there are now hundreds of television channels to choose from, and where it used to be the norm to go and stand in a box on a street corner to make a phone call, we now carry little communicators in our pockets (yup … just like in Star Trek!).

Communism came and went, the Berlin Wall went up after World War II, and thirty years later came crashing down, and apartheid was done away with, largely due to the vision and determination of one man. It’s been a dramatic 100 years or so, and one of the most gratifying things that has come out of it has been the new age of tolerance.

Let’s be thankful that what happened to Oscar Wilde is far less likely to happen to anyone now, and let’s remember what a giant of the dramatic art he was. He deserves to be remembered for his cleverness and wit, but not just as it is portrayed in his various sayings.

Why is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person? – Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613 – 1680)

This is typical of how the memory works to suit itself, not us! Hopefully, with the use of some carefully applied memory techniques, this can be changed so that we actually remember what we want to remember … not just what we happen to remember.

There is not any memory with less satisfaction than the memory of some temptation we resisted – James Branch Cabell (1879 – 1958)

There’s really not much more to be said! This thought is similar to one summed up in the current saying, “Nobody, on their death bed, says how much he regrets the fact that he didn’t spend more time at the office”.

The past scampers like an alley cat through the present, leaving the paw prints of memories scattered helter-skelter – Charles de Lint

Eerily descriptive, and very true. I suppose you could say that if you study memory techniques, one of these days the paw prints will at least all be in line.

If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory. There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences. The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control!

We are, to be sure, a miracle every way; but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out – Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

It’s more wonderful than the rest, to be sure, but hopefully its powers are not totally past finding out.

The two offices of memory are collection and distribution – Samuel Johnson

Only two … and if we can take control of both, we can have control over memory, it’s as simple as that. Not easy … I didn’t say easy … but simple, yes.

Memory … is the diary that we all carry about with us – Oscar Wilde, “The Importance of Being Earnest”

There are several quotes that say this same thing, that memory is our personal, inbuilt diary. But who amongst us retains any kind of editorial control over that diary? We don’t want to remember everything that happens to us (that would be a nightmare!), but we should endeavour to remember everything important, or good, that happens. Unless you’re blessed with eidetic memory, you can only begin to achieve this level of competence with memory training.

What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce – Karl Lagerfeld

Except in your memory! If you revisit your memories from time to time, they can become as sharp and as persistent as actual photographs. Well, that’s the theory anyway!

I always have trouble remembering three things: faces, names, and — I can’t remember what the third thing is – Fred A. Allen

This could have been said by me! In fact, I think it was me … can’t quite remember …

The more connections that can be made in the brain, the more integrated the experience is within memory – Don Campbell

A simple statement of fact, but it says it all – if we really want to remember anything, the most effective memory technique of all is to employ as many senses as possible in the process of creating the memory. The more integrated the various sensations, the more complex and complete the resultant memory.

A good memory is one trained to forget the trivial – Clifton Fadiman

Memory works well enough, forgetting the trivial all the time, otherwise we’d be weighed down by the sheer bulk of countless memories (most of them worthless).

Memory’s like a fishing net, cleverly made to catch the big ones, but with holes big enough to let the tiddlers escape. Still, a little training to make sure the holes are just the right size never goes amiss! And to patch up the areas where the net has split.


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