What is memory?

A way in which we store and remember information? Or is it more complicated than that?
We know that it certainly isn't a primary way of knowing as information is gathered and then somehow modified to create a memory. It is this process that can cause some problems. However, it is undeniably a very powerful tool in the acquisition of knowledge.

What do these quotes suggest abut the role that memory plays in our acquisition of knowledge?

Memory is the mother of all wisdom.


Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going.

Tennessee Williams

Memory is the fourth dimension to any landscape.

Janet Fitch

No memory is ever alone; it’s at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails that each have their own associations.

Louis L’Amour

Human memory is a marvellous but fallacious instrument. The memories which lie within us are not carved in stone; not only do they tend to become erased as the years go by, but often they change, or even increase by incorporating extraneous features.

Primo Levi

Interesting knowledge questions are raised with the consideration of memory as a way of knowing such as:

To what extent do we shape memory with our own personal paradigms?

Which way of knowing provides us with the most reliable memory?

To what extent should memory be trusted when one studies history (ie primary sources)?

This is an interesting article on the way photographs can shape our memory

How to train yourself to have a better memory

How memories are malleable

Can memories be revived?

The Woman Who Can't Forget.


In late 2013, MIT neuroscientists Xu Liu and Steve Ramirez manipulated the memory of a mouse. Using a laser and the protein channelrhodopsin, they “activated” the rodent’s (false) fear memories. The impetus, says Ramirez, was the awful feeling of a break-up, the desire, Eternal Sunshine-style, to erase the bad associations with his ex. Says Ramirez, “I realized, maybe that’s a little bit lofty for now. So what if we could start off by going into the brain of a mouse and just find a single memory to begin with? Could we jump-start that memory back to life, maybe even play with the contents of that memory?”
- TED (

Would you erase a heartbreak?