Excursion 32, Part 2 (In My Father’s House Are Many Mansions)

Once upon a time, before thumb drives and smart phones, people actually had to remember things.  Do you remember that?  No?  Look it up on your smart phone; I’ll wait.  The ancient Greeks and Romans sometimes used a technique called the Method of Loci (i.e., places).  It’s more commonly called a memory palace.  The idea behind a memory palace—an idea stolen by the movie Inception—is that you create in your mind some sort of reality, like a house or museum or row of shops—or a palace.  When you want to remember something, you “store” it in a particular place in this mindscape.  For example, you may remember your locker combination by “storing” it inside the disgustingly pink vase on the mantel over the fireplace in the living room of your mind mansion.  It is the combination of the item and its virtual surroundings that create a memory connection for you.  It’s kind of like a mnemonic only in space rather than via words or sounds.

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