“Memory is essential not only for the continuity of individual identity, but also for the transmission of culture and for the evolution and continuity of societies over the centuries.
Although the size and structure of the human brain have not changed since Homo sapiens first appeared in East Africa some 150,000 years ago, the learning capability of individual human beings and their historical memory have grown over centuries through shared learning–that is, through the transmission of culture.
Cultural evolution, a nonbiological mode of adaption, acts in parallel with biological evolution as the means of transmitting knowledge of the past and adaptive behavior across generations.
All human accomplishments, from antiquity to modern times, are products of a shared memory accumulated over centuries, whether through written records or through a carefully protected oral tradition.”
Eric Kandel, In the Search for Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind