How to Sharpen Your Memory Without Losing Wits?

There is this story on how to sharpen your memory without losing wits. Probably unseemly, but it pictures the efforts made by students in Abbasid’s era of caliphate to sharpen their memories out of keen interest for learning.

During the Abbasid’s era of caliphate the education flourished. Throughout the whole curriculum the memory work was especially emphasized. Notable scholar of Islam Professor Philip Khuri Hitti writes in his book “History of the Arabs”:

An eminent teacher from Nizamiyah — an institute of higher learning established during the time of Abbasids in 1065 – 1067 — whose name was Baha-al-Din, and who was also the biographer of Saladin Ayubi, tells in his reminiscences, as reported by Ibn-Khallikan, that to sharpen their memories a group of students once drank such a heavy dose of an infusion of anacardia kernels that one of them lost his wits entirely and came naked to the class. When amidst the laughter of the class he was asked for an explanation, he gravely replied that he and his companions had tried the anarcardia infusion, which made them all insane with the exception of himself, who had happily kept his senses.

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