I have had a few curious questions regarding my “Loci” memory system that I use. I have mentioned it in a few places, and so I am thinking that it might be good to give a quick overview of what I do.
I learned my system from Ron White‘s course “Memory in a Month.” It did indeed take only a month to complete, and it did transform the way I memorized and remembered things in everyday life, homeschool, Scripture, and everywhere else. Mr. White’s methods do work, although they might not be for everyone (to a degree). They do not need extreme or even, really, above-average intelligence. All it is is a system that works.
Most people have an extremely hard time remembering even as short a list as ten or twenty objects. Now that might not seem short to you, but it will be when you understand how to work this system. To prove to you where you are in memory, ask a family member or a friend to secretly write down a list of about twenty objects (they are easiest). Then tell him to read them out to you slowly in order. Then when the person is done, try to repeat back to him the list in order. He should write them down as you go, not giving you any tips or hints or feedback until you are done. Then look at how much you got right. Five or six correct is really good.
For you to remember anything with Mr. White’s method that he developed from ancient techniques, you need three things: a code, a place, and an action. These can take various forms, and be used in various methods to memorize many different kinds of data. Let us take an example of memorizing a number. Lets do 1566307102, a ten digit number.
First you need to turn that number into a memorable set of images using a code. Then you are going to use a system of familiar places called files using memorable actions. Let me explain by demonstrating with one code, the Phonetic code, and one set of files, the Skeleton files. As you will see these two are very connected.
The Skeleton files consist of ten files, each with a unique name (these names are very important). They are: Top (the top of the head), Nose (that is rather self-explanatory), Mouth (that too), Ribs (the chest), Liver (your abdominal region, where your liver is located), Joint (where you bend, also known by non-memorizers as your hips), Cap (your patella, or your kneecap), Fibula (in your shin are two bones: your fibula and your tibia, the fibula is the important one for this), Ball (your foot has the ball of your foot, of course), and Sand (you are standing on it. Yes, it is not technically on your skeleton, but it makes ten, and it is important to do it this way. You will see why in a bit). If you will take the time to familiarize yourself with the Skeleton files, then you will be well on your way to being a memory whiz.
If you have familiarized yourself with those odd names of the Skeleton files, then you will have possibly noticed that each starts with a different sound. This is important, because that is the basis for the Phonetic code which is the greatest aid in memorizing numbers of any length (especially two-digit). Here is the code: 1 = T/D, 2 = N, 3 = M, 4 = R, 5 = L, 6 = J/SH/CH, 7 = K/G, 8 = F/V, 9 = B/P, 0 = S/Z. See the pattern? Each consonantal sound is directly connected to its equivalent Skeleton file! So familiarizing yourself with both ought to be really easy (and even if it isn’t, the effort pays off, trust me).
So now with these you can easily convert two-digit numbers into images this way: take the two-digit number (like the first two digits of our ten-digit number, 15) and think of a word whose consonants match the number’s correlating sounds. So 15 → 1,5 → T,L → Tail (or Tile, or Deal, etc.). Every two-digit number works like this, so it is easy to convert any number into a string of images based off of two-digit pairs. So here we go with our ten-digit number (1566307102): 15 = Tail, 66 = Judge, 30 = Mouse, 71 = Cat, 02 = Sun. now take those images and “file” them to your skeleton files with memorable action like this: Your hair turns into a bunch of scaly tails and wriggle all over the place; A judge gets so mad at you for defending your faith in the court that he throws his gavel at you and it hits you on the nose; You eat a mouse; A huge cat attacks you and scratches your chest really bad; You ate something that didn’t agree with your digestion and so it turns into a massive flaming ball like a sun in your stomach.
Now review those (if those particular ones are not very memorable for you, then you can recreate your own). Then go through them and undo them back into a ten-digit number. You should be able to now repeat that number backwards (just start at the end of the files and go backwards up to the top: it is just as easy that way as going forwards), forwards, and by number (what was the third pair? Mouse in Mouth = 30. The third number? The first number in the second pair: 6).
This system works best for memorizing numbers (which is in itself very useful), but the concept of images, places (Loci is Latin for places, so that is where the name comes from), and filing with action applies to everything. There are a lot of ways to do it, but what I have shown you can be used to experiment, practice with (it is Hard to practice, but who cares?), and expand. This system works really well for memorizing Scripture (especially if you are familiar with it) by the way.
I hope that that at least answers your questions, but if it doesn’t, feel free to ask more. But I do suggest that you get Ron White’s ‘Memory in a Month’ course. It is very helpful.
With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser aka Sir Emeth Mimetes
Filed under: Earthly | Tagged: Home schooling, Memory, Rebelution | 10 Comments »