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Two defects in the Memory, Oblivion and Slowness.       §8. Memory, in an intellectual Creature, is necessary in the next
degree to Perception. It is of so great moment, that where it is
wanting, all the rest of our Faculties are in a great measure useless:
And we in our Thoughts, Reasonings, and Knowledge, could not
proceed beyond present Objects, were it not for the assistance of our
Memories, wherein there may be two defects.
      First, That it loses the Idea quite, and so far it produces perfect
Ignorance. For since we can know nothing farther, than we have the
Idea of it, when that is gone, we are in perfect ignorance.
      Secondly, That it moves slowly, and retrieves not the Ideas, that it
has, and are laid up in store, quick enough to serve the Mind upon
occasions. This, if it be to a great degree, is Stupidity; and he, who
through this default in his Memory, has not the Ideas, that are really
preserved there, ready at hand, when need and occasion calls for
them, were almost as good be without them quite, since they serve
him to little purpose. The dull Man, who loses the opportunity,
whilst he is seeking in his Mind for those Ideas, that should serve
his turn, is not much more happy in his Knowledge, than one that
is perfectly ignorant.’Tis the business therefore of the Memory to
furnish to the Mind those dormant Ideas, which it has present
occasion for, and in the having them ready at hand on all occasions,
consists that which we call Invention, Fancy, and quickness of Parts.
Locke Hum II, 10, §8, p. 153