"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."

-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
1 How important is memory, anyway?3 How important is memory, anyway?How important is memory, anyway?How can we develop transformative tools for thought?2020-10-18JournalIt's like they're trying to compose a beautiful sonnet in French, but only know 200 words of French. They're frustrated and think the trouble is the difficulty of finding a good theme, striking sentiments and images, and so on. But really the issue is that they have only 200 words with which to compose. At the time, MN's somewhat self-satisfied belief was that if people only focused more on remembering the basics, and worried less about the “difficult” high-level issues, they'd find the high-level issues took care of themselves. What he didn't realize is that this also applied to him. When he began using the memory system Anki to read papers in new fields, he found it almost unsettling how much easier Anki made learning the basics of such subjects. And it made him start wondering if memory was often a binding constraint in learning new fields See here and here for more on learning new fields using Anki. The last four paragraphs are adapted from Augmenting Long-term Memory (2018).. Continue reading…