"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
4 Two cheers for mnemonic techniquesHow important is memory, anyway？Two cheers for mnemonic techniquesHow can we develop transformative tools for thought？2020-10-18Journal
All this makes us seem negative about mnemonic techniques. In fact, we're enthusiastic, and have to date certainly underused them in the mnemonic medium. What we've written here is merely meant to temper the over-enthusiasm we sometimes encounter. We've had people go so far as to tell us that mnemonics make memory a solved problem. That is simply false. But with their limitations understood, they're a powerful tool. This is particularly true for knowledge which has an arbitrary, ad hoc structure. For example, it's difficult to remember the colors of the rainbow because those colors are not obviously connected to anything else, unless you happen to have the spectrum of visible light memorized for other reasons! That makes a mnemonic like Roy G. Biv extremely helpful. And so mnemonic techniques should be thought of as a useful tool to use in building powerful memory systems, especially when combined with ideas such as spaced repetition.