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Archive for September 15, 2017

Memory Palace

I first read about Memory Palace was in Thomas Harris’s novel – “Hannibal”. If you had watched the movie “Silence of the Lambs”, you will know the character Dr. Hannibal Lecter is a mnemonist of an unusual kind, able to internally adjust time so that he may quietly wander the precincts of his own psyche. In the book “Hannibal”, this conceit is enlarged to depict the entire scope of Hannibal’s Memory Palace: a four-dimensional building containing all the art works, texts and enactments of torture which he wishes to preserve intact.

So, what is this Memory Palace? Similar to using your knuckles to remember which months have 31 days, it is a method of memory enhancement using visualization and spatial memory. It anchors familiar information so you can quickly recall data. It is credited to the ancient people of Rome and Greece and is used by memory champions across the world. The key is to forget about trying to force facts and information into your mind through repetition. Instead, try to link the ideas in interesting ways that allow you to easily recall the data. Essentially, this is a journey through your mind.

To creating a Memory Palace:
Step 1: Choose a location you are familiar with (such as your home).
Step 2: Rehearse this journey in your mind several times. Try to think of your emotion in each room.
Step 3: Place a piece of information in each room and anchor it in a corner or on a physical object like a bed.
Step 4: Draw your Memory Palace.
Step 5: Begin your journey and make things interesting so they pop in your mind. The key is for the information to stick. Essentially, go wild and crazy with this technique, you don’t have to tell anyone.

Let’s see how this technique works.

The number Pi is a mathematical constant. It is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Typically, people will approximate it to 3.14 or 3.14159. Let’s look at an easy way to remember Pi up to 10 decimal places. To do this we simply create a sentence: May I have a large container of coffee ready for today? Then count the number of letters in each word. The length of each word represents a corresponding digit in Pi: May (3) I (1) have (4) a (1) large (5) container (9) of (2) coffee (6) ready (5) for (3) today (5).

Pi = 3.1415926535

You may put this information somewhere in the kitchen of your Memory Palace. You will be amazed how powerful these techniques are once you start practicing them. They are fun, easy to learn, easy to use and they work immediately. Stop memorizing, start having fun. Get weird and develop a superb memory!