"Hail, memory, hail! in thy exhaustless mine, From age to age unnumber'd treasures shineI Thought and her shadowy brood thy call obey, And Place and Time are subject to thy sway!"
Most people are lazy mentally. They need mental discipline more than anything else in the world. Some admit it. As a training ground for the human mind the field of memory is unsurpassed. Offering, as it does the broadest possible field of operation, with unlimited material to draw upon, with a range of conscious and subconscious receptivity, with basic laws to build upon and definite working principles to guide the training, with practical tests and special drills for the purpose of discipline, it leaves no excuse for mental indifference and laziness. Knowing the tendency to drift—to follow the line of least resistance, we must recognize the necessity of discipline. Mental shiftlessness must be corrected and aimless wandering curbed, although in some persons the latter is of little consequence, if we concur with the opinion of the family physician, who was called up over the telephone by an excited wife. " 0h, doctor, come right over—my husband is so ill that he is wandering in his mind." " Don't worr.y," said the doctor, who was well acquainted with friend husband, " he can't go far." But no matter what your mental limitations may be, you can-not afford to let your mind get rusty.
"The greater the activity of the mind, the greater the flow of energy of it. The. trouble is that a myriad brain-fields lie fallow. They must be plowed and harrowed and sown wi.th various seeds to produce of their abundance." *
We should never forget the great psycho-logical truth mentioned in the beginning of this book—Power goes where directed. Each one of us has the privilege of selection, of choosing the channels to which he wishes to direct, his power, which is another way of applying the selective principle. I know a man in this town who is in the real estate business. His memory is poor when it comes to remembering a speech, but it is a wonderful memory when applied 1,o his business. That man can give you the number of a certain house in a certain block. He can tell you the price of that house at the present time, what it sold for a year ago, possibly two or three years ago—draw an outline of the house, how many rooms in the house and how arranged, the amount of the mortgage on the house and the second mortgage, too, if any. He can tell you what the taxes are, both general and special, and give it to you accurately, instantly. That is the result of directing his memory power along certain channels. Volumes have been written on Will Power, and I shall not add to this mass of evidence, except to point out that Will Power is worthless unless wisely directed—in fact may become a decided detriment. Direction alone gives it value. Another factor which has not been mentioned in this volume is the matter of selection.
A SELECTIVE MEMORY
A good memory is selective. In other words, it is wise to forget some things. This has a two-fold significance; we should forget certain things not only because they are not worth remembering, but also that we may the better remember other things. A selective memory " holds fast that which is good." Again quoting Professor Pear, " A good memory should be serviceably selective. To good remembering as to good art, leaving out the right things is indispensable. The art of forgetting is but the inner aspect of the art of remembering."
A mind that is finely and keenly polarized for the best things demonstrates the law of attraction and draws to itself only the best.
As a philosophy of life this selective principle is sound as a part of an efficiency program. Some one has said that we make progress as much by throwing something away every day as by adding something to our stock every day.
" The daily paper from last week, read and discarded, which should have been and was not removed from our newspaper rack, the torn and faded finery of a past carnival; only by getting rid of such clutter can we progress: 'We bear them no ill-will, but, they now arouse in us no desire, except for their removal. It. is not just because such things represent the pas' to us that we wish them away; for many a souvenir of the past is fondly cherished. That there are always a few letters which we cannot bring ourselves to tear up is just as significant as the fact that the majority are joyfully jettisoned. In fact, our past seems to be divisible into two parts, that with which we have done, and that to which we still cling, or—to include the lesson which we have learned from Freud—that which still clings to us."
Just so a good memory is sufficiently selective to allow no cluttering up in the workshop of the mind.