Umberto Eco on why you need to develop memory and why its weakness - our curse



Umberto Eco, Italian writer and philosopher, wrote stunning in its wisdom and depth of the letter, which is addressed to his grandson. It's called "Dear grandson, learn by heart." The main idea in it that we suffer from poor memory and create our own, instead of her training, crutches as Google, gadgets and various web services. We limit the life of their own and ignore the experience of past generations. Read it thoroughly and to admit that the memory you need to do something and it's not a matter of utilitarian, it's a matter of understanding the world and what is happening in it. It's a matter of survival!

The day will come, and you grow old, but you will feel that I have lived a thousand lives, as if you took part in the Battle of Waterloo, was present at the murder of Julius Caesar, visited the place where Berthold Schwarz, mixing in a mortar various substances in an attempt to gold, accidentally invented gunpowder and flew into the air (and it serves him right!) And your other friends, not seeking to enrich their memory will live only one's own life, monotonous and lacking big emotions.

I would like to talk to you about the illness that struck your previous generation, which is already studying in universities. I'm talking about memory loss.

It is true that if you want to know who or where Charlemagne is located in Kuala Lumpur, you can push a button and instantly find all of the Internet. Do it when you have to, but get help, try to remember its content, not to seek a second time when this knowledge you will need in school, for example. The bad news is that the understanding of what a computer can at any time to answer your question, discourages you wish to memorize information. This phenomenon can result in the following comparison: to learn that from one street to another can be reached by bus or metro, which is very convenient when you hurry up, man decides that he no longer needed to walk. But if you stop walking, then turn to the person who has to move around in a wheelchair. Oh, I know what you're doing sports and know how to control his body, but go back to your brain.

Memory is like the muscles of your feet. If you cease to exercise it, it will become flabby and you (let us be frank) turn into an idiot. In addition, we all run the risk of old age in Alzheimer's disease, and one way to avoid this trouble is to constantly exercise our memory.

That's what my recipe. Every morning, learns some short poem, as we were forced to do as a child. You can arrange a competition with your friends for the best memory. If you do not like poetry, you can memorize the composition of football teams, but you must know the players not only commands the Club of Rome, but also players of other teams, as well as their composition in the past tenses (present, that I can remember the names of the players of the Turin club, the former on board the plane that crashed on the hill of Superga: Bachigalupo, Ballarin, marozi and so on). Compete to see who is better to remember the content of the books they read (who was on board the "Hispaniola", went in search of Treasure Island? Lord Trelawney, Captain Smollett, Dr. Livesey, John Silver, Jim ...) Find out if your friends will remember the names of the servants of the three musketeers and D'Artagnan (Grimaud, Bazin, Mousqueton and Planchet) ... And if you do not want to read "The Three Musketeers" (although you do not know what is lost), it has done a similar game with the book that you read.

It seems the game, but this is a game, but you will see how your head is filled with characters, stories and a variety of memories. You may ask why once the computer called an electronic brain. This is because it was conceived on the model of your (our) brain, but the human brain - more connections than the computer. Brain - is a computer that is always with you, its ability to expand as a result of exercise, and your desktop computer after prolonged use loses speed and after a few years needs to be replaced. And your brain can last you up to 90 years, and in ninety years, if you're going to exercise it, you'll remember more than you remember now. He, moreover, free.

Then there is the historical memory, which is not connected with the facts of your life or that you have read. It stores the events that happened before you were born.

Today, if you go to the cinema, you have come to the beginning of the film. When the film begins, then you have all the time as a lead hand, explaining what is happening. In my time it was possible to enter the cinema at any time, even in the middle of the movie. Many events happened before you came, and I had to conjecture what happened earlier. When the film begins, first, it was possible to see whether your correct reconstruction. If you liked the movie, you could stay and watch it again. Life resembles watching a movie in my time. We are born at a time when there was already a lot of events for hundreds of thousands of years, and it is important to understand what happened before we were born. This is necessary in order to better understand why today there are so many new developments.

Today, school (besides your own circle reading) would teach you to remember what happened before you were born, but she does not succeed. Various surveys show that today's youth, even the university, born in 1990, does not know, and maybe does not want to know about what happened in 1980, not to mention the fact that it was 50 years ago. Statistics says that when young people are asked who the Aldo Moro, they respond that he led "Red Brigades", and he was killed by members of the clandestine leftist organizations.

The activity of "Red Brigades" for many remains a mystery, but because they were present on the political scene only thirty years ago. I was born in 1932, ten years after the Nazis came to power, but I knew who was prime minister during the march on Rome. Maybe in a fascist school told me about it, to explain how stupid and bad was this minister ("cowardly Fact"), offset by the Nazis. Even so, I knew about it. But leave aside the school. Today's young people do not know actresses movie twenty years ago, and I knew who this Francesca Bertini, who starred in silent films for twenty years before I was born. Maybe it was because I was flipping through old magazines piled up in the closet of our house. I suggest you flip through old magazines, because it helps to understand what happened before you were born.

But why is it important to know about the events of the past? Because often such knowledge helps to understand the course of today's events and in any case, as the knowledge of football teams, help enrich our memory.

Bear in mind that you can train your memory, not only through books and magazines, but also through the Internet. It is suitable not only to chat with your friends, but also for the study of world history. Who are the Hittites and Camisard? What were the three ships of Columbus? When the dinosaurs became extinct? Whether the steering wheel on Noah's ark? What was the name of a bull ancestor? One hundred years ago vodilos more tigers than they are now? What do you know about the Mali Empire? Who told her? Who was the second pope in history? When was the Mickey Mouse?

I could go on asking questions indefinitely, and they would be perfect subjects for the study. All this should be remembered. The day will come, and you grow old, but you will feel that I have lived a thousand lives, as if you took part in the Battle of Waterloo, was present at the murder of Julius Caesar, visited the place where Berthold Schwarz, mixing in a mortar various substances in an attempt to gold, accidentally invented gunpowder and flew into the air (and it serves him right!). And your other friends, not seeking to enrich their memory will live only one's own life, monotonous and devoid of big emotions.

So, to enrich his memory and tomorrow learned about memory «La Vispa Teresa».

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