Memory and Forgetfulness

Themistocles, when Simonides said that he would teach him mnemonics, or the art of improving one’s memory, replied that he would rather learn the art of forgetfulness:

Memory, and thou, Forgetfulness, all hail!
Each in her province greatly may avail.
Memory, of all things good remind us still:
Forgetfulness, obliterate all that’s ill.

This was written by Macedonius of Thessalonica (c.500 โ€“ 560 AD), which was included in Greek Anthology. Charles Neaves wrote the English translation.

Macedonius also provided a counterpoint:

Memory, and thou, Forgetfulness, not yet
Your powers in happy harmony I find;
One oft recalls what I would fain forget,
And one blots out what I would bear in mind.

Posted by

My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

3 thoughts on “Memory and Forgetfulness

What's On Your Mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s