Memory, the Mother of Science, and Flow


Memory as the mother
In his famous book Flow, Mihali Csikszentmihalyi includes a chapter on the flow of thought and takes us back to the origin of the mother of science. He says:

The Greeks personified memory as lady Mnemosyne. Mother of the nine Muses, she was believed to have given birth to all the arts and the sciences.

It is valid to consider memory the oldest mental skill, from which all others derive, for, if we weren't able to remember, we couldn't follow the rules that make other mental operations possible. Neither logic nor poetry could exist, and the rudiments of science would have to be rediscovered with each generation.

Hence, why we talk about mnemonics, which aim to translate information into a form that the brain can retain better than its original form. Wikipedia provides some examples:

Commonly encountered mnemonics are often used for lists and in auditory form, such as short poems, acronyms, or memorable phrases, but mnemonics can also be used for other types of information and in visual or kinesthetic forms. Their use is based on the observation that the human mind more easily remembers spatial, personal, surprising, physical, sexual, humorous, or otherwise "relatable" information, rather than more abstract or impersonal forms of information.

We have a certain worldview based on our past experiences. Csikszentmihalyi says that:

The primacy of memory is true first of all in terms of the history of the species. Before written notation systems were developed, all learned information had to be transmitted from the memory of one person to that of another. And it is also true in terms of the history pf each individual human being. A person who cannot remember is cut off from the knowledge of prior experiences, unable to build patterns of consciousness that bring order to the mind.

… all forms of mental flow depend on memory, either directly or indirectly.

… As far back as there are records of human intelligence, the most prized mental gift has been a well-cultivated memory.

We find meaning in the contents of our mind.