Lecture One: S
-We’re better at memorizing things visually and spatially.
-Visualize a room and situate the things you want to remember inside (childhood
homes, interesting places you’ve been)
-Doesn’t have to be a room, can be body parts...
Memory: Spatial, Visual
-The more bizarre, funnier the image is, the more likely you’ll remember it.
-We can memorize a terrain better because of our ancestors who had to know
where they were and where things are.
-Good capacity to memorize faces as opposed to other things
Epic Poems of Rajasthan
-Bhapas: person who lives in Rajasthan in India. Society was not changed by
-Epic poems that are thousands of stanzas long were committed to memory by
-Poems weren’t written down until 1870’s.
-Boys who were taught to read and write were less able to memorize the
-Power of spoken word in these societies (illiterate societies)
-No record of anything. Like events - they happen, then they’re gone.
-Interlocutor: sustained thought linked to communication. Someone has to speak
In order for knowledge to be created.
-Aspects or oral tradition exist in a society like ours (in court, everything is
-Mnemonics and formulas- Something to aid the memory (rhyming, visualizations
-Serious thought had to be memorized and transferred down generations
-You know what you can recall
-Rich in metaphor, multi-sensory, non linear creative thought, Homer
-The Iliad/Odyssey were initially recited by memory. Homer was illiterate
-Middle aged texts were rhymed. Meant to be memorized.
-Today we have much less need of memorization
-Memorization was at the core of society, well being P. 59 Sounded Word as Power and Action
• Primary Oral culture no knowledge of writing
• Words merely events – no visual representation
• Sound exists only when its going out of existence evanescent
• When I pronounce “permanence” by the time you get to “ence” the “perma” is gone
• Cant stop sound – if you stop the movement of sound you have silence
• This is how sound is different from other sensations, yes they all take place in time but no other
sensory field resists holding action (there’s no still shot in sound motion can be reduced to still
• Vision can be immobile
• In Oral culture words have great power
• Can touch buffalo, see buffalo, but if you hear it something is happening
They also thought they had magical power
• Think of names as conveying power over things
• Without names cant understand things (i.e. chemistry)
• Labels things for us as chirographic folk, but for oral folk name isn’t a tag –they have
no idea that name is something that can be seen written or printed words can be tags
real/spoken words cannot be
You Know What You Can Recall: Mnemonics and Formulas
• In oral culture restriction of words to sounds are also thought processes as well as modes of
• We an recall things (don’t have to know everything at one time same with oral culture
but..) oral has no texts o If they think up something and find a solution they can recall it by think
Have to think in mnemonic patterns (i.e. repetitions and alliterations)
Proverbs – constantly heard by everyone so that they can get recalled easily
“red in the morning, the sailors warning; red in the night, the sailors delight” culture with no knowledge of writing/pos