The idea that memorization is useful comes from the warehouse model of memory which assumes facts can be inventoried in memory to be pulled out whenever needed. Memory does not work this way, however. Consider these three phenomena:
If you grew up in the US, you probably spent a lot of time as a child memorizing the names of the presidents. Can you now write down all of the Presidents' names? Can you now remember who was President during the War of 1812? Unless you are a history buff, the answers are probably "No." Learning the list of Presidents is a project on which schools are traditionally willing to spend a great deal of effort. But does that effort really pay off? Such knowledge, even in this high-visibility example, tends not to stick very well, nor to make itself available when it would be useful. Sure, people can memorize disconnected facts, but they are notoriously bad at it and, as the manufacturers of Rolodexes and calendars will tell you, they typically avoid doing so whenever possible.
What the Experts Say About Memorization
Where am I in the content of the book?