Have I gone crazy?Wachira John
I am so excited about this I can’t help but talk about it. My roommate thinks I’m crazy, I think its fun. Or at least to me it is. Some would say I sometimes exhibit photographic memory. I don’t think I have any special abilities since it’s an art I’m learning. The art of remembering. Art of remembering you say? That’s right. Remembering to remember. Before you agree with my roommate, keep reading.
Like any muscle in the body, the mind requires exercise to perform well. Dudes, y’all know what it’s like working out and the rewarding feeling when you are looking at those abs or ladies, mm… Let’s not talk about ladies. But I hope you get my point. That is the brain can reward handsomely if you take the time to train and exercise it. The mind palace otherwise called the method of loci is a way to do this.
As a mental exercise, every night before I sleep, I try remembering everything that happened since I woke up. Everything to the tiniest detail if I can. For example, what side I woke up on, the state of the house when I opened my eyes, when I go out, all people I meet, I try remember what they looked like and especially the color of the clothes they wore(I especially like recalling that. I flop at times though). I’m not perfect but many times I’m usually surprised at how much I remember about a day. And you know, this doesn’t require using lots of energy or instructions. Just lay still and play the day in your head.
It’s festive season. The bull has been fattened enough. Men gather round because we all want the meat. As if aware of their intention, the bull charges, rips the rope used to tether it and runs away. The men follow it in pursuit with the machetes firm in their hands as they ran across the field. Suddenly, amid the fracas, the bull grows wings and flies. Everyone is shocked…I will come back to this later.
Imagine going to a place that spoke a different language from yours. There’d be total disconnect. Until you improvise by bringing a translator, or invent a mode of communication both parties will understand. The brain, your brain, has a language. And since the brain is also charged with the task of remembering, it can’t help but remember if you speak to it using its language.
Language of the brain.
Now, remember the bull that flew? What exactly do you remember? Without going to that paragraph, I’m sure most if not all will remember the events that ended with the bull flying. More importantly, it’s not the words that you remember; it’s the images of a bull running, men chasing it etc. The language of the brain is images. Images and emotion. If you think about your life, some of the things you still remember that happened years ago had a very interesting visual trait or had some emotion attached. You can remember to the tiny little details, like it happened yesterday. And yet, if I asked you what you had for lunch three days ago, that will seem hard to remember. Routine (a.k.a cramming to students) works terribly with the mind. It might seem to work in the short term, but it’s no way to retain memory. It’s what we call cache, in computing.
Take two kids, both have never gone to town. One is taken to times towers and told this is the tallest building. She/he can see the words Times Towers embossed on the building. They can see it’s really tall. . The other kid, wherever he/she is, tell them, “In a city called Nairobi, there is a building called times towers and it’s the tallest.” Which of those kids do you think will remember the first instance of times towers better? I know you and I agree it’s the first kid.
This is how the mind palace works. Since things might not be obviously pointing to imagery or emotion for the brain to easily remember. I transform information I see to images which I then give to my brain to store. I do that with numbers; phone numbers, credit card numbers, meter number, token numbers etc. It may take a while. Sometimes intimidating to change numbers to associative images. But when I do, forgetting is almost impossible.
How do I do all this? I have MY (my because anyone is supposed to have their own. Things they relate with and can recall easily) associations for numbers 0-9. For example, when I see number fouR (notice the capitalized R). I visualize a rook. The chess rook. When I see fiVe, I see Voldermot (Lord Voldermot is a character in the book series Harry Porter). If for example, I needed to store the number 454 to memory, in my brain, I’d see Lord Voldermot dancing between two enormous rooks. Decoding that image will lead me to the number 454. Interesting isn’t it? Or crazy, hehee…Some people think it is. There is so much more about the mind palace and you can read about it on the internet.
Just a thought. God would not give us something if he didn’t expect us to use it aye? Why not use it then :). So I don’t think I’m crazy, I just have a mind palace.
Happy brainy times!