Memory Improvement – Natural System Vs Artificial System

Many persons seem to be under the feeling that memories are bestowed by nature, in a fixed degree or possibilities, and that little more can be done for them. In brief, that memories are born not made.

But the misleading notion of any such idea is demonstrated by the investigations and experiments of all the leading authorities, as well as by the results obtained from the persons who have developed their own memories by their own effort without the help of an instructor.

But all such improvement to be real must be along specific natural lines and in accordance with the well-established laws of psychology, instead of along artificial lines and in disobedience of psychological principles. Development of the memory is a far different thing from ” trick memory.”

Dr. Noah Porter

Dr. Noah Porter says: “The natural memory as opposed to the artificial memory depends on the relations of thought and the relations of sense, the impulsive memory of the eye and the par benefiting itself of the clear combinations of objects which are furnished by space and time, and the rational memory of those higher combinations which the rational faculties super induce upon those lower.

The artificial memory recommends to substitute for the natural and necessary relations under which all objects must present and arrange themselves, a totally new set of relations that are entirely mechanical and arbitrary, which stimulate little or no other interest than that they are to help us in remembering.

It follows that if the mind tasks itself to the particular effort of considering objects under these artificial relations, it will give less attention to those which have a direct and rightful interest for itself.”


According to Kay, memory is capable of imprecise development, there can be no manner of doubt; but with respect to the means by which this improvement is to be effected mankind are still greatly in ignorance.”


Fuller says: “Surely an art of memory may be made more damaging to natural memory than spectacles are to eyes.” These views of the best authorities might be multiplied indefinitely. The consensus of the best view is decidedly against the artificial systems, and in favor of the natural ones.


Granville says: “The defects of most methods which have been planed and employed for memory improvement, lies in the fact that while they assist to impress specific subjects on the mind, they do not render the memory, as a whole, ready or attentive.”


Several centuries ago Helvetius very greatly expressed about natural systems of memory culture are based upon the fundamental conception. He said that firstly the extent of the memory depends, on the daily use we make of it. Secondly, it depends upon the concentration with which we consider the objects we would impress upon it. And, lastly it depends upon the order in which we range our ideas.

Essentials In The Development Of Te Memory

This then is the list of the three essentials in the development of the memory:

  1. Use and exercise; review and practice
  2. Attention and Interest
  3. Intelligent Association.

The memory will tend to atrophy by disuse, and raise, strengthen and develop by rational exercise and employment within the bounds of moderation. You develop a muscle by exercise like any other mental faculty or physical function.

If you want to develop the memory you need to train any specific faculty of the mind in the same way and also follow the same method in the case of the memory. Nature’s laws are constant, and bear a close analogy to each other.

You will also observe the great stress that we lay upon the use of the faculty of attentiveness, accompanied by interest. By attentiveness you obtain the impressions that you file away in your mental record-file of memory.

And the degree of attention regulates the clearness, depth, and intensity of the impression. You cannot expect to obtain a good reproduction of it without a good record. A poor phonographic record results in a poor reproduction, and the rule applies in the case of the memory as well.

You will also notice that we explain the laws of association, and the principles, which govern the subject, as well as the methods whereby the proper associations, may be made.

Every association that you weld to an thought or an impression serves as a footnote in the index, whereby the thing is found by recollection or remembrance when it is needed.

We call your concentration to the fact that one’s complete education depends for its competence upon this law of association. It is a most significant feature in the rational development of the memory, while at the same time being the bane of the artificial systems.

The artificial ones tend to weaken the powers of the mind, if carried to any great length and where as the natural associations educate.



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