For years this was merely a dream of mine: Now the first step is done for my millennium PAO system. Basically it is a normal PAO but with 3-digit images instead of 2-digit images for the people and the objects. Using 1.000 different actions seems impractical, so I will only use a 2-digit list with 100 actions. This creates a cluster-image with 8 digits encoded (3 + 2 + 3). This will be perfect for a 40-digit row in memory competitions because you can memorize such a row with exactly five PAO images.
The big question in developing such a system for me was the codification. If I would rely on the common Major System or the Dominic System I would reduce the possibilities for good images to only a few choices. Especially when it comes to the 1.000 people it seems like a bad idea to simply take a name that fits. It is difficult enough to clearly imagine random people from a 100-list so they have to be very well chosen. Even if you create a 1.000 object list with the major code and then add a person to each object with natural associations, it would feel like a compromise I don’t want to make. The only reason why we use a code in the first place is to help our memory. But I rather have more effort learning this system but have the freedom of choice instead.
That is why I skipped the codification completely to create a perfect list of 1.000 people. I wanted characters I know and can easily imagine and all should be distinguishable from each other. Since I am already an experienced memorizer I thought it should be possible to learn such a list without any code. But it still should have at least some logic in it. So I sat down and created basically ten major categories of people like cartoons, movies, historic figures and more. Then I created 100 categories within these major categories with ten people each, like the Simpsons, the Muppets or Star Wars. For every person I googled a nice picture and put them all into order. You will find my video playlist with all of them below.
To learn this huge list I simply used my old 2-digit PAO system. I didn’t use the old 100 people but the list of 100 actions and 100 objects. I took the new person for the number XYZ and created a PAO scene the following way: The new person is doing something (XY) with some object (YZ). I did use the middle digit of the three digits twice - as the second digit of the first image and the first digit of the second image. That creates several advantages: Firstly you can memorize the entire list of 1.000 people with exactly all combinations of 100 actions and 100 objects from 00-99. Secondly each action encodes an entire category of ten people which makes it much easier to reproduce. And thirdly since you use the middle digit twice, the images are entangled and each action will be ultimately linked to only ten objects - that will help you to remember the right person a lot.
Examples of this evolution:
Step 1: 2-digit Major System: 74 = car; 40 = rose;
Step 2: 2-digit PAO: Michael Schumacher - racing - car; Sleeping Beauty - sleeping - rose
Step 3: 3-digit Person: 740 = Charlie Sheen
To memorize Charlie Sheen as the new #740 I split this number into 74 and 40. Charlie is the person § which is racing (action #74) into a pile of roses (object #40). That is a normal PAO image we are used to deal with (supposing you already using a 2-digit PAO). Later I can reconstruct Charlie Sheen by asking myself who is racing into roses.
That is actually pretty easy to do so. After some struggle of motivation I forced myself to learn a new set of 100 every day by just watching the 5-minute video I created for all major categories and memorize these stories on the fly. After the first run I was able to recall most of them immediately but with a relatively weak memory image. Then I would have been able to use a flash card system like Anki to train them right away. Though I waited to do so until I memorized all ten sets of 100 because I wanted to train all of them at once in a random order (because it is much easier if you train just all images from 500-599 for example). Now it is very comfortable to train all my people with Anki on my iPhone or iPad. Some of them are still difficult but I just have to improve the mental PAO image and I am fine the next time. Many are popping already right into my mind when I see the associated number. I finished memorizing all of them a week ago.
Well that’s it so far. I am creating the list with 1.000 objects already and it takes much less time than the people. I will keep you posted.
More about my system on my website:
Here is a link to the list with all names and categories:
Here is a link to my YouTube playlist with all 1.000 people.