The changing role of memory

[Added April 1997]This
interesting document by Larry Wendt:Narrative as genealogy offers an interesting
glimpse on the changing role of memory in our culture.The first culture is
oral: in this culture the storyteller and the poet are of great importance,
since they are the memory of this tribal society.Big efforts are
done to preserve this memory with long and rigorous apprenticeship.

Then we have the text culture (where the text is first a manuscript,
then a printed book and more recently TV).Here the culture is saved
using writing so we have the sacred books. The storyteller becomes a
rhetorician that uses the so called “Art of Memory” to write the main
points of his speech in the “loci” in his brain. Until the paper becomes
so cheap that there is no more need for this art:in fact now we use
transparencies. Anyhow we think always in terms of linear printed
The latest culture is the hypertext culture:here the hypertext
itself is a memory strategy to keep track of all the associations between
our own thoughts but also our thoughts and those of the rest of the world.
Seen from the outside the Web can be seen as a one million channels TV
mostly full of trash.But in this new culture we are not only spectators
or surfers, we also contribute creating the hypertext. This is something
new and no one knows where this will get us.