10 months ago

Better Man

Day 10 Memorize “If”

Day 10 Memorize “If” Before Google and the internet, people memorized stuff. When your grandpa went to school, memorization was the main method of learning, and he had to commit things like the Gettysburg Address and sonnets by William Shakespeare to memory. Decades ago, rote leaning went entirely out of fashion amongst educators, in favor of helping students think creatively and problem solve. Yet, the pendulum swung a bit too far, and the baby got chucked out with the bathwater. For in truth, there are many advantages to memorizing information. After all, while it’s important to be able to think and apply knowledge, if you don’t have any knowledge to apply, knowing how to apply it is pretty useless. This is where memorization comes in. The ancient Greeks understood this. They began the schooling of their young men by having them memorize the poetry of Homer or the wise words of Solon, the founder of Athenian democracy. The Athenians believed that by memorizing great poetry they were helping their citizens develop a mastery of language that would serve them well in the halls of the Assembly. Moreover, memorization of noble poetry burned the ideals of Athenian society deep into the souls of its citizens. The West’s most famous wordsmith, William Shakespeare, gained his education by memorizing the epic poetry of the classical world. Through this practice, the Bard developed an ear for the sophisticated rhythms and patterns of language, helping him churn out some of civilization’s most cherished pieces of literature. Moreover, by memorizing the myths and stories of the ancient world, Shakespeare had a fountain of creative resources to draw upon as he wrote his plays.

30 Days to a better man Almost the entirety of Abraham Lincoln’s education was self-directed. Lacking formal schooling, he consumed books with an insatiable desire, reading snatches of them whenever he could. He also committed to memory numerous passages from his favorite books. It enabled him to learn the musicality present in great writing. It’s no coincidence that the mind that produced the Gettysburg Address had at its immediate disposable snippets from the world’s finest authors. These days, people have to Google something if they want to remember the words to a poem or some other famous piece of literature. Heck, we even need Google to remember the capital of Vermont. In an article in the Atlantic Monthly, one writer makes the case that Google is making us dumber. And he’s probably right. So today, we’re going reverse the trend of having to depend on the Google crutch by memorizing Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If.” Let’s get started. Why Memorize Things There are countless benefits to memorizing great poems and passages. Here are a few for consideration: 1. Improved writing. As you memorize great poetry and other worthy pieces of literature, you’ll be begin to internalize the rhythm and structure employed by some of the world’s greatest writers. Etching these things into your brain allows some of that magic to make it’s way into your own writing. Benjamin Franklin was a believer. According to his autobiography, Franklin set out to improve his writing by memorizing the works of writers he admired. 2. Increased vocabulary. In the course of memorizing, you’ll undoubtedly encounter words you’ve never seen or don’t know the meaning of. By memorizing the word within the context of the poem, it will be easier to recall its meaning and use it later than if you had tried to memorize the word alone. 64