Storage, Reason, Memory, History: Building the Global Brain


"for it is usually found that when people have the help of texts, they are less diligent in learning by heart and let their memories rust"

Julius Caesar, De Bello Gallico, VI: 14

According to Ong, an oral society develops language tools and memory patterns that are quite different from those of a chirographic culture. Their stories have little regard to a linear plot structure, they use flat characters, stock phrases, and expressions that enhance memorability. They focus on interaction with the audience and rely on formulaic uses of language to aid retention of knowledge. As Caesar complains, a move to a chirographic culture changes how that culture views and uses memory.