Wilson, Douglas, and Nathan D. Wilson. The Rhetoric Companion: A Student's Guide to Power in Persuasion. Moscow, Idaho: Canon, 2011.
Lesson 7, “Memory: The Fourth of the Five Canons” pp. 41-43.
Memory can be compared to several different things. Wilson first discusses the view that memory is like a box (Wilson 2011, 41). If this is the case, we must leave room by not remembering too much. However, if memory is more like a muscle, the more it is used the stronger it can become. Wilson suggests this as a better metaphor for memory. The more we process and use memorization, the better it will work.
There are many aids to our memory in this day. Wilson mentions the internet, smart phones, and books. He observes that “these things can be used to greatly strengthen an already strong mind, or they can prevent strength altogether” (Ibid., 42). Wilson sees these aids as servants.
Wilson suggests memory tactics of Simonides, the memory expert behind Rhetorica Ad Herennium, tactics found in The Dissoigoi, and Aristotle’s suggestion of memorizing definitions and logical premises. This all can contribute to an ability to gather and order large amounts of information, all fitting into one overall framework.