Tuesday, 5 April 2011
Britain is a country where old men can sharpen their memories by visiting Joshua Foer's 'Memory Palace'
In his book,'Moonwalking With Einstein', a young American, Joshua Foer, has written about his experience in the U.S. Memory Championship. To begin with his memory was 'nothing special', yet after a year he was able to memorize the order of a shuffled deck of cards in less than two minutes and the names of 99 people he'd just met.
Apparently, the art of memory is credited to the ancient Greek poet, Simonides of Ceos, Σιμωνίδης ὁ Κεῖος, who was able to perfectly recall the scene in a banquet hall moments before the roof collapsed, simply by reviewing it in his mind’s eye.
Using this 'method of loci', you assign distinctive images to anything you want to remember, placing them in familiar rooms or buildings and recalling them becomes a matter of traveling through those locations, or 'memory palaces' and noting the images assembled there.
This seeming sleight of hand : memorize X in order to remember Y, takes advantage of a simple fact of human cognition that we naturally remember visual images.
So old men of Britain, many of you art in need of this, so how does it work ?
Step 1 :
Choose various locations in your mind, Joshua uses friends’ houses and his old high school.
Step 2 :
Mentally, collect a population of images, often lewd or ridiculous, which you assign to numbers, playing cards or whatever else you need to memorize.
Step 3 :
In this way, a long string of numbers becomes a farcical tour of fantastical images, distributed in a memory location.
Joshua's title cover represents the combination of images he uses to remember the 'four of spades', the 'king of hearts' and the 'three of diamonds'. He has been discovered by 'Columbia Pictures' which is set to make a film about his book and whose President, has said:
“This is a very special book which transcends the already fascinating subject of memory. By explaining in personal and entertaining fashion a great deal about how our brains work, Joshua has written a book that sheds light on how memory is connected to humanity.”
Joshua, in his own words :
Chester Santos, US 'Memory Champion' demonstrating the same technique :
So, Tom Rush, with Joshua's help, your 'Remember Song' will become a thing of the past :