Much of what is written about memory involves negative emotions. People try to forget bad memories. They have repressed memories they are trying to retrieve. They are traumatized by past events.
Those are all legitimate reasons for memory to prove problematic. However, having a good memory also serves important purposes for human beings, and not all of them are negative.
Having a Good Memory
Ancient cultures considered having a good memory a valuable skill. The ability to accurately remember things were especially important in passing down cultures and history before the written word became common.
Today, memory still serves important purposes. Here are a few of them.
Memory Helps With Focus
We live in a distracted world. From moment to moment, people have various technologies begging for their attention. That can lead to laziness and sloppy thinking. Recalling past events can help keep a mind focused and more disciplined.
There Are Some Things Only You Know
Yes, you can Google the capital of Turkey and the color of the Russian flag. But you can’t Google the songs your mother sang you to sleep with or the smells from the kitchen on an evening when your grandmother cooked her favorite dish. These type of memories – the most important memories – can only get passed on by human beings who saw or experienced them. That’s one of the major reasons having a good memory is so important.
It Helps With Learning
Research has shown that the more people exercise their memories, the greater the capacity they have for learning new things. That’s an important trait for people to possess.
We Can’t Rely on Machines
A recent study found that creativity in the sciences required the ability for people to remember things on our own. Without that ability, creativity “will suffer if we rely too much on technology to remember things for us,” the study reported. That’s likely true for anyone attempting to do anything creative. The study also noted that students are increasingly using technology to remember things, and it is leading to less creativity in the classroom.
We Learn From History
Most everyone knows that we should learn from history. For example, World War II taught us all the dangers of fascism. However, the same applies to our personal lives. We all learn from past mistakes, Even if those memories are painful, they help guide us to make better decisions in the future. That’s something that can benefit us all. Memory is a tricky thing. It can be a source of great pain or great happiness. But when it comes to our minds and day-to-day living, the ability to discipline ourselves and keep robust memories is very beneficial. So, keep your mind active and reap the benefits!