Is Memorizing a Waste of Time?

“Now that we can look up anything ‘with a click on Google…memorizing long passages or historical facts’ is obsolete. Memorizing is ‘a waste of time’” (181).

When I was younger one of my teachers told the class that, psychologically, children have better memories than adults because they can’t write. If they need to remember something, they memorize it, where as adults just write it down and only have to remember that they wrote down something important. I can’t verify this because nothing comes up on Google when I search for it, but it sounds like something that’s true. Then again, one of my professors believed the debunked myth that you swallow spiders in your sleep, so maybe teachers aren’t always the best source for true fun facts and trivia.

A brain leaving a human and entering the cloud. made by me.


Either way, Carr seems to be drawing from the same concept, as he states that internet usage is removing our need to memorize anything. In high school and even college I’ve had teachers and professors who’ve said that they don’t see the purpose in having students memorize dates because they’re always available online. It’s an interesting question to ask yourself if memorization of trivial things is useful or not. Are our brains now more free to calculate other things now that we don’t need to memorize that Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin? (Thanks Ms. Raab, really important stuff). Or is memorization important? Is dependence on the internet to look things up that in the past people had memorized a large detriment to our society? Parts of our brains are now stored online, Carr says, and we have to prepare for the worst. If we were to suddenly lose the internet, how would our day to day lives fall apart? In my opinion, the only thing to be worried about when it comes to internet dependence is what happens if we were to lose connection.


Author: Devon I

UD student, Junior English major.

5 thoughts on “Is Memorizing a Waste of Time?”

  1. This idea that Carr brings up about not being able to remember as much also struck a chord with me as I read the second half of the book. I tend to disagree with Carr on this particular issue, personally. I have a very keen interest in trivia and I love reading and remembering random facts and information. I love to go onto trivia websites sometimes when I have nothing to do and just take quizzes on different subjects. Despite the fact that I am doing this on a computer, I honestly feel that these types of activities train my brain to remember more information and more trivia. Moreover, this is one of Carr’s theories that I do not believe to be true.


  2. I think that memorization is important and that we rely a little bit too much on technology to help us remember things. While memorizing dates in history class may not be the most important thing to memorize, our neglecting to memorize them is definitely a perfect representation of how much we rely on the internet to be our source of information. I agree with you that we should be worried about what might happen if we lose connection to technology. A lot of people will panic and a lot of information will be forgotten.


  3. I like what you’re getting at here, and I hadn’t really thought about it much prior to reading your post.It is almost pointless to memorize anything at this point being everything is just a click away. This is where I feel man needs to pull back on its use of the Internet. If we have all of our information gleaned to us only through our computers, then we are putting ourselves in a bad situation. However, if we stay sharp and don’t let our wit fade away completely in the light of our computer screens, then hopefully we won’t be too messed up when we lose Internet connection.


  4. I enjoy your question of the importance of memorization. I agree with the fact that we are no longer memorizing and it has become obsolete because we don’t need to anymore. Memorization can be a good thing but it can also be a bad thing. Memorization isn’t always learning but that may not be the case when we exert enough effort to search for something on Google and find the answer online. I feel as though the answer resonates with us because we looked through the Google results and selected what was most appropriate. But this does make one wonder about how we would live if Google were to cease to exist and it something I hope we never have to deal with.


  5. This is something Carr did not really talk about a lot. I think once you get older, your teachers really try and get you away from memorization for retaining material. I think that is because when we get older we have more of a grasp on how we learn. We start to learn that retaining what we learn is easier if we systematically go over it, rather than memorization. I had NO IDEA that thing about spiders wasn’t true.


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