The Necessity of Mastering Memorization

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※Click here to see this article written in Japanese. 以前から人間的に魅力を感じる人とそうでない人の違いについて考えていた。結局のところ主観的な判断に帰着するのだが、私が重要と考える要素の...


For some time, I have pondered the difference between individuals who are genuinely compelling and those who are not. Ultimately, this distinction boils down to subjective judgment, yet I wish to highlight one critical element that I deem significant.

When tackling something new or engaging in an activity with a high level of nervousness, it is common to witness a decline in performance due to a lack of confidence. Examining the primary stages of education reveals that traditional schooling has succeeded in raising literacy rates and instilling universal values, effectively producing standardized individuals capable of navigating social life fluidly. However, there appears to be an overemphasis on the foundational "studies," dedicating excessive time to academic pursuits. While this focus was understandable during the post-war infrastructure development, the modern era allows for the autonomous acquisition of knowledge, suggesting that we should have recognized the need for a shift and gradually moved away from an exclusive focus on subjects like mathematics, science, and languages.

My argument centers on the adverse effects of the current educational system. As members of the current generation in our twenties, we bear a significant responsibility. Positioned at the forefront of reform, we belong to a privileged generation during childhood, thus carrying the duty to explore new directions and promptly implement them.

I reference school education to delve into the core issue of preparing for questions and answers. Traditional education trains us to provide one correct answer to one question, often seeking model answers. In the contemporary context, basic answers can be obtained instantly; thus, we should transition to focusing on how to utilize these answers and valuing alternative thought processes. Yet, many still engage in the rote memorization of question-and-answer sets.

Even the expression "thinking in line with the present" is inherently flawed. The methodology remains unchanged from past approaches, emphasizing the need to make decisions now with the future in mind, an area where many lag behind. In essence, time advances ahead of us.

This is not to say that traditional methods are entirely flawed. The current educational practices are foundational and correct when scrutinized. The issues posed in society are not always solvable in a univocal manner. General answers enable alternative solutions to shine, and rules create the space for exceptions.

Innovative problem-solving stems from thinking outside the input framework, creating value through such connections. Importantly, anyone can engage in this, especially in complex scenarios involving human elements. From the perspective of diversity, this principle applies equally to the human system, underscoring its importance. At the outset, I mentioned the generation at the center of reform, signifying the responsibility as the first generation of reform. The true first generation often comprises individuals who have withdrawn their awareness to such an extent that functioning as a collective is impossible. However, some pioneers emerged, and many from the previous generation passed the baton to the emerging collective. In simpler terms, we are in a transitional generation. When the original generation completes its transition, the perfect reform will become the duty of the first generation, a continuous exploration.

It is crucial to discern that hybridization is essential, and the "now" we refer to must be understood as a "now" derived from envisioning the future and retracing our steps to establish a target. Mastery of basic knowledge should remain within the scope of general education from past generations, and this should not deter learning. In a world where information updates exponentially, merely investigating basic matters cannot adapt to fluid or dynamic phenomena.

Based on these premises, I propose the following three points:

  1. Scrutinizing and accumulating answers (a prerequisite for equalization)
  2. Memorizing and systematizing scrutinized answers (to facilitate control)
  3. Deliberately questioning accepted truths, discovering more appropriate beliefs or expressions, and mastering their use (liberating collapse)

Balancing these three aspects is crucial. Regardless of the reasons, environment, or conditions, we must continue stockpiling as long as there are reasons preventing complete adaptation to fluid or dynamic phenomena. Continually asking oneself if the information is current and applicable is essential, and we must build our convictions through this evaluative process.

Therefore, everyone over the age of twenty should frequently ask themselves:

"Am I consistently preparing answers to questions?"

It is anticipated that many will respond negatively. While this is alarming, it also reveals abundant opportunities. Stepping out of the situation where "most people over twenty can only provide the same answers" allows one to become a distinctive and unique presence.

Nearly everyone in this age group has repeatedly experienced the "question and answer set" in their childhood, becoming experts who unconsciously possess model answers. A slight adjustment here suffices. When preparing an answer, we should extend this preparation to the next possible question, making it practical. The more unique the answer, the more unexpectedly compelling it becomes.

Can you imagine the disadvantage of reflexively responding to daily questions or greetings with model answers used by everyone?

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