A recent post by @aicreator reminded me of my own experiences trying to develop the “perfect” memory. I too believed (and perhaps somewhat still believe) that increasing your visualization prowess will make memorizing information easier and more fluid. Even though I believe Dominic O’Brien when he says that making an image ultra-vivid isn’t necessary, I still want to cultivate this ability because I think that having good visualization skills will benefit my life in other ways, namely in art.
One of the things that I initially struggled with when memorizing for the first time was control of my visualizations. Occasionally I would try to visualization something, but my visualization wouldn’t obey me. Like I would try to visualize a cat eating a fish but instead, my mind would show me a cat swimming in water instead. Over time this problem vanished, but whenever I tried to do freeform visualization on my own time, I would be met with rebellious visualizations, or the thoughtform wouldn’t maintain itself longer than a few seconds.
Also during this time, I tried to learn how to draw, but I just couldn’t get it. Mainly I struggled with forming lines and shapes incorrectly and shading improperly. For whatever reason, two days ago when I attempted to draw again, it just clicked. I could actually draw the shapes correctly and my shading seemed to improve overnight (even though it definitely needs some work). I also noticed that the vividness and control over my visualizations have definitely increased.
This recent experience has caused me to hypothesize that the reason that my visualizations have been hard to control is because I don’t understand the world around me. What I mean by that is that I don’t have an in-depth understanding of how things look in real life, just a general abstraction. It reminds me of when people are asked to pick out a fake penny over a real penny, and many people pick the fake penny because they haven’t paid attention to what a penny actually looks like. If I truly pay attention to the little details around me, it should be easier for my mind to generate more complex visualizations since it actually has some familiarity with the subject.
With this knowledge in hand, I feel like the fastest way to improve my visualizations is to become a better artist. After all, artists tend to have good visual memories. This approach may not be useful to me in the future, but for now, I feel like this is what I need.