Pearl Leff | In Praise of Memorization - Deepstash
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What is memorization?

Memorization means purposely learning something so that you remember it with muscle memory; that is, you know the information without needing to look it up.


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Is memorizing things useful?

Many of us think memorization is a useless practice forced on us from the early days of our education. But is it that useless?

With the advent of the internet, we are used to having knowledge at our fingertips. However, it is knowing what knowledge is available and how to integrate it into our existing knowledge base that is important


105 reads

The more we know the better we reason

A lot of life involves reasoning: taking this information you have and making hypotheses that connect different pieces in a way that provides a deeper understanding of them.

The more information you have muscle memory for, the more you can use to reason about. This is why having more knowledge generally helps you to tackle more complex problems.

If you have memorized knowledge you have also pre-processed it in a way that aligns with how you think, thus helping you during your reasoning. 


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What if we don't memorize?

The problem with not memorizing is that you're limited by the lack of data points, or nodes that you can make connections between. In short, you're limited by your lack of understanding of what to look up.

A common example is that many engineers due to their overuse of StackOverflow end up solving problems without actually understanding how they solved them, or even worst, without learning anything. After a few months, if the problem arises again, they would try to brute force searches on Google to find again a solution.


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What does memorization give me?

Memorizing information gives you a concrete organizational scaffolding and context in which to put new information. Memorizing an organized set of facts means that new information can be inserted in an orderly way, sandwiched, or enhancing other facts in an organized framework.


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Software engineer by 🌞 and sleepyhead by 🌑. Software architecture. Distributed systems. Personal productivity. Cats.


I have always been against memorization but this article has changed my view on it, especially considering the examples of software engineers that are just searching on the web for any problem they have.


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