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349. Linguistic Capacity of Memory

Memory is often identified with intelligence. They are two different faculties, as the ink and the ballpoint pen are materially different. Memory acts on the basis of the context and previous experience, not necessarily aided by intelligence. We often assume that ineffective memory is blunt intelligence. Give two items to your clerk, he will do the first and forget the second. It makes us furious. Watch next time yourself, you will do exactly the same thing. It is not neglect or willful disobedience. It is lack of experience. Very highly experienced people, experienced in their own work, act like this, forgetting the second item. There is a further phenomenon of an inexperienced memory trying to be more exact than it can be. That creates a hilarious confusion.

A classical example is there in Trollope. Mr. Septimus Harding is a warden in Hiram Hospital in charge of eight retired wool carders, people who comb wool with a card. He goes to Chapter Hotel in London. He meets the clerk of the Attorney-General as a client to fix an appointment for himself with the lawyer. The clerk is dull, but very obliging. He writes down what Mr. Harding has said. He addresses him, "Mr. Septimus Hiram..." Mr. Harding corrects him, "Septimus Harding. There are eight words in all - Septimus, Harding, Hiram, Hospital, wool, carder, Chapter, hotel. This is too much for the clerk. In reply to the clerk's question about where he comes from, Mr. Harding says, "Barchester". This adds one more word. The clerk is very smart or trying to be so. He knows of wool gathering, but has not heard of wool carding. So he replies, "I have noted down the case of the wool gatherers..." The warden feels crushed and gently stops him, saying, "wool carders". The clerk replies, "I shall send word to Barchester Hotel..." Mr. Harding is dismayed, looks at him and says, "Chapter Hotel".

Again the clerk musters courage and says, "Yes, Mr. Barchester."  The warden gives up in utter despair. The clerk tries here to bring back to his mind the eight words in four combinations, not knowing how to manage even four words in two combinations. It is too much. I have seen lawyers and judges jumbling 'Mother Estates' and 'Beauty Land' into Mother Land and Beauty Estates. When your whole property hangs on the memory of your lawyer or judge, how can you ever survive? There is no human faculty that can serve grave situations. Invoke the Spirit, call in Mother, be quiet, practise Silent Will, resort to Faith, give up all reliance of capacity, things will go smoothly.

story | by Dr. Radut