One of the best ways that memory athletes around the world can really legitimize mnemonic systems and techniques is to start competing publicly to rapidly learn useful knowledge. Memory Sports should be about more than memorizing decks of playing cards, random words, numbers, binary digits, abstract images, names and faces. I propose a new kind of Memory Championship competition - one that uses ten branches of knowledge to demonstrate the extraordinary power of these techniques. Each competitor would memorize things like geography, history, science, astronomy, math equations, anatomical parts, mixed foreign and English vocabulary words, etc.
Some of you might say something to counter my argument, such as “but anyone can memorize those ideas before a competition and cheat”. The fact of the matter is, none of the competitors will know beforehand what order these ideas will be presented in, or what ideas in those branches of knowledge will be tested. You may know a thousand facts about geography, but if you do not know what order they will be presented in, then you are at no better advantage than anyone else who practiced memorizing geography before the competition. This sounds like a much more difficult competition, but it can be kept simple at first, and depending on how much enthusiasm and skill it generates, can be greatly expanded from there. If you really want to help give The Art of Memory a good name, then compete on memorizing useful knowledge, rather than just memorizing numbers, random words, and other such trivial pursuits.
I am not saying that it is not worthwhile and beneficial to compete in the typical memory championship competitions - what I am saying is that these competitions need to evolve, to move past memorizing non-useful data to memorizing useful data.
Any thoughts and comments about this are welcome and encouraged.
Here are some. Each year it could change, if need be, but it could be ten events, perhaps. These are just suggested ideas. Maybe someone has a better suggestion?
1) U.S. History
2) European History
3) Latin American History
6) Physics formulas, equations, etc.
7) Mathematical formulas, equations, etc.
8) Plant families
9) Animal families like birds, etc.
10) World Geography, city populations, capitals, etc.