Henri de LuBac (in The Christian Faith) quotes an interesting section of the Explanatio Symboli (an early exposition of the Apostles’ Creed commonly attributed to Ambrose) where converts are exhorted to memorize the creed and never to write it down. Note the reason:
”But, you will say, how can we remember it if we do not write it down? You will remember it all the better. . . . When you write something down, in fact, certain that you can reread it, you do not take the trouble to go over it every day, meditating on it. But, when you do not write something down, on the contrary, fearing to forget it, you do take the trouble to go over it every day.”
People in the early centuries of the church wrote little down and remembered everything. By contrast, I write everything down and remember nothing (especially what I forget to write down!). I write things down because I don’t want to go to the trouble of remembering them. Now I wonder if the forgetfulness and absent mindedness I see in myself (and that others complain about) is related to our refusal, our unwillingness, to try to remember. Dementia rooted in mental laziness. whoo-boy.
Well, at least I will have forgotten about this by tomorrow.