Re: thoughts on origin of religions

From: steve (
Date: Wed Feb 27 2002 - 05:33:40 MST

----- Original Message -----
From: "Technotranscendence" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 11:58 AM
Subject: Re: thoughts on origin of religions

> My point, however, was limited to showing you don't need writing to do
> thinking -- whether that is philosophizing or whatever.

> There also seems to be some evidence that preliterate people are better
> at recalling lot of details. (If this is true, my guess would be that
> most literate people forget stuff merely because they can easily rely on
> writing for recollection. So, they never develop a habit of non-written
> memory -- or not to the same extent> books...)
> This is not to attack writing. I think it's one of the greatest
> inventions of all time. I just don't reduce everything else to it. I
> think humans did and still do a lot thinking and remembering outside of
> writing.
Two things. It's certainly true that the art of memory can be very highly
developed in societies that are largely non-literate or where books/printed
texts are very costly Frances Yates wrote a wonderful book on this, "The Art
of Memory". But, granted some people will be able to do philosophy (and
geometry and other forms of analytical reasoning) without writing, there are
still two points to consider. It will be much more difficult to store and
transmit the results, so knowledge will tend not to be cumulative, to grow
over time. Also isn't it the case that the widespread use of the written
word (which is likely to be much more widespread than highly trained memory)
encourages a particular kind of lineal, analytical thinking in the
population at large? Steve Davies

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