Socrates envisaged a time when we would forget how to remember.

From Daisy Dunn’s review of Puchner’s The Written World:

Socrates envisaged a time when we would forget how to remember. The Iliad, the Odyssey, the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Indian epic Ramayanahad been preserved through an oral tradition that seemed destined to perish through overreliance on papyrus. Akhmatova remembered because she had to but Socrates simply chose to. He is one of many great thinkers to have earned a place in Puchner’s book on “the written world” in spite of having written nothing down. Jesus writes just once, and in sand, so his words are washed away. The wisdom of the Buddha is preserved in the memories of his students. Confucius teaches by example. Each had their reasons for shunning the scribes. The written word lacked the life of human speech; it encouraged idleness; it was dangerously susceptible to misinterpretation. —Times Literary Supplement