Hello all! I just wanted to share a bit about myself, how I got into the Art of Memory, my general level of knowledge, and what my goals are for improving myself more every day instead of procrastinating and spending more time thinking about how something could or should be rather than experiencing the concept.
I have been following this forum for about a year now, ever since I started delving into memory and mnemonics. Memory has always been a major stumbling block for me. Ever since a childhood accident I have been unable to visualize in my minds eye except when I am dreaming, a condition known as ‘aphantasia’. I have a few scattered memories that are vivid prior to the event but ever since whenever I try to imagine something I simply get an “impression” of the thing I am attempting to draw from my memory. I equate it to when it’s pitch black where you cannot even see your hand an inch in front of your face but you can feel/see a darker area, and since I know that my hand is there I get an impression in my head of the shape/feeling.
During my research of aphantasia I learned of a technique that allowed me to experience images by describing the latent images (afterimages) of light in my head, (for example, when I look at any bright light, like a computer screen, a green light will hold the size and position of the light source) and by describing the afterimages I get brief flashes of realistic images as if I am looking at a photograph or the object itself. I noticed almost immediately that I have virtually no control over the image except for what the occasional flicker of subconscious thought dictates.
I continued my research and I found the Art of Memory and this forum and I have been following ever since. I found almost immediately that while I cannot visualize I still can remember what is “supposed to be” in each location, at least if my associations are strong enough. I started implementing all 5 senses (Touch, hearing, taste, and physical sensations are strong suits for me while hearing, vision, and smell are quite weak in regards to strength of association and ability to recall) and occasionally I get brief visualizations, but even without the visuals I have found that I can remember lists of hundreds of objects/ideas. Since then I have religiously delved into the subject seeking to master it. I have read several memory books such as “the Art of Memory” and half a dozen of Dominick O’brien’s works and I have gone through all posts of some notable contributors such as Josh, Bateman, Metivier, Maya, Elitely, RMBittner, as well as some less notable contributors, and have spent the last year or spending the majority of my time conceptualizing about the Art, expanding on ideas of the greats listed in the Art of memory, to Gavino’s massive memory system, Millennium PAO , Memory Theatre, Ben System, linking methods, peg systems, and many other disciplines of memory that was so eloquently categorized and brought to my attention by this fantastic website.
I realized a few weeks ago that while I’m doing all of this conceptualization I am spending less time actually engaging in the Art as I would like. What should be daily practice of multiple disciplines of memory is weekly and bi-weekly grocery lists, speed card memorization maybe once a week, and almost every day I place a piece of knowledge that interests me in my mind and concrete that useful information using spaced-repetition learning with Anki
I decided to make a post in part to greet and thank each and every one of you for providing a great community that has assisted me in more ways that I could have possibly imagined, and also in part as a statement of my goals as a way to motivate myself through sharing of what until now has remained in my head this entire time.
My goals, in addition to my conceptualization:
1.) Establish a daily routine of multiple forms of mediation. (Object meditation to counter aphantasia, 9-path meditation to develop single-pointed concentration and focus, reflective meditation to dredge unused information to the surface for retention and memory concretion)
2.) Establish a daily routine of PAO card memorization
3.) Walk/Jog daily to increase spatial awareness while also building journey’s (which is extremely difficult for me)
4.) Create mental to-do lists and check morning and night to reaffirm.
a. Morning I ask myself how I’m going to improve myself
b. Evening I ask myself how I improved myself
5.) Journal daily as accurately as possible and with as much detail as possible, attaching emotions of the day to images that sum segments of the day
6.) Daily statement of short-term and long-term goals
Once again, it’s wonderful to meet you all and I hope that we can grow as individuals together!