so much web-reading these days. i wonder if one of them e-book reader thingies would be a useful gadget? 'been burning out my eyeballs on this screen, immersed in articles on memory...
(passing links from avad)
Architecture of Digital Space (by Eden Muir and Rory O'Neill, 1995)
Memory Palaces: A Millennial Metaphor? (by Carl Malamud, Mappa Munda Magazine, 1999)
Method of Loci
a catalytic state of delicate remembering... plunging into a stratified lake, a quicksand cake... grabbing for any handholds... scrambling around to catch it all... my arms aren't wide enough, and this net has damn holes in it everywhere...
the Art of Memory, ars memoria... Memory Palaces, imaginal and real... constructing a path that can be revisited by the Mind's Eye, each object a memory locus that holds a thought... mnemotechnic architecture as a means to access information... how did you get there? what associative path did you take? all sources seem to agree that memory is a spatial arrangement... referents are positional... the trick lies in systematically placing memory objects in places that you'll remember... hopefully, unlike a squirrel, burying her nuts haphazardly through any-which backyard... scattered nuggets crammed into nook and cranny... packed in infinite moebius coils, waiting to spring out...
hypertext links are like a memory palace in which one does not have to memorize the structure to navigate through each "room", a rhizomatic network branching out infinitely... memory is an obviously common experience to all of us, but we all experience it differently. historical perceptions of memory are closely tied to the mystical, the magical, the occulted... i particularly enjoyed imagining the adventures of GIORDANO BRUNE, a Dominican monk that, after leaving the monastery where he learned the Hermetic Art of Memory, wandered Europe telling anyone that would listen the secrets of memory... until he was burned at the stake for heresy in 1600... his books, including The Shadows of Ideas are only available online in Latin. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT? (avad: "the trick with Latin is to read it really really fast so you don't give yourself a chance to remember that you don't know it!:)")
in all my reading, i've only found information on the history of memory techniques, NOT THE TECHNIQUES THEMSELVES. strange, no? IS MEMORY RETENTION A LEARNABLE SKILL? it must be possible, yes, to improve one's memory... right? beyond rote and repetition... Bee is skeptical about these mysterious methods: "what about photographic memory?" in truth i don't know that much about the wonders of EIDETIC MEMORY... a little skeptical of it myself, even... i need to read more... but what about SYNAESTHESIA? feats of memories, retained in the architecture of a bewildering array of linkages between impressions, cross-overs between modalities... indelible marks of the emotional/symbolic/physical etched onto the surface of memory... different SORTS of memory? why am i less skeptical about these tenuous techniques than the well-documented occurrence of photographic memory?
we all suffer the intimacies of memory, but this dearth of tangible technique can make a skeptic out of anyone. astounding feats of memory are an eroded legend from the days before the printing press, the radio, the television, the internet... human culture is possible because of the epigenetic, the extended phenotype, "the long reach of the gene"... both the written word and the oral tradition are ways of externalizing memory. but we also encoded memory into the environment. what are cities but the extended memories of their populations?
external memory devices are more than useful, but they've given us a false sense of our capabilities. reminds me of Vernor Vinge's SKROEDERIDERS, a race of sentient geraniums that have no short-term memory and would not be a space-faring species if it were not for their "skrodes", an external memory device that also serves as their method of physical conveyance. we depend on our skrodes entirely too much...
phenomenal recall of epic tales by the fireside, closing arguments in a court-case, an after-dinner speech, the diagnostics of a tibetan doctor... there ARE techniques that reduce the number of things to be remembered, but not the amount of information. the earliest "recollections" are of the greek poet Simonides, the "inventor" of MNEMOTECHNY / MNEMONIC TECHNIQUES... believe it or not, we've all learned these before:
1) Anagrams and Acrostics ("Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge" or, like, the Torah)
2) Rhyme and Rhythm (acoustic encoding)
3) Grouping / "Chunking" (breaking long sequences down into manageable bytes)
4) Imagery and Symbolism (the links that join symbols to other symbols)
5) Memory Palaces / Loci of Thought (a complex spatial architecture of (4))
6) the Peg system (a little complicated, based on cryptographic substitutions)
so mnemomic techniques are familiar, to a point, but they're NOT ENOUGH... i'm imagining a bigger picture... so much similarity to CRYPTOGRAPHY and COMPUTER SCIENCE it makes me a little dizzy... and methods to jar memory, by metaphors, by association, by alliteration, by humour, by contrast... all of which are NARRATIVE TECHNIQUES. the recollection of objects produces a type of narrative; the story is the path that is generated on the trail of recollection... methods to distinguish REPETITION from RESONANCE... how to tell the echoes apart (?)... echo-location... SEX as an ancient memory technique, when disorienting sensations bubble to the surface, during, after... YOGA, yet another technique where positions of the body shakes loose forgotten things... quite like the art of remembering and retaining DREAMS, how quickly those impressions disappear as soon as you move to get a pen to write the fragments down... BLUEPRINTS... MANDALAS... MICROCIRCUITRY...SCHEMATIC DIAGRAMS...
MEMORY IS SO MUCH MORE THAN I COULD EVER REMEMBER
the mnemosign loves this sort of stuff.