Verbatim Memorization of Philosophy:

Hello, so I wanted to memorize some philosophy verbatim and I have experimented for 3 days. However, I noticed that I appear to be slow and I sometimes forget what I have studied a few minutes ago.

I have used:

  • The Major system PAO to remember which line came first, and to review each line from beginning to the end, end to the beginning, middle to end, middle to beginning, and out of order. (Haven’t done such a review yet)
  • A bridging figure
  • A memory palace

I have noticed a few mistakes in creating imagery:

  • I didn’t have the bridging figure interact with the object from the PAO sufficiently

  • When using linking to glue each word within the sentence together, I exceed the 15-31 word range, making it impossible to recall afterwards without rote repetition.

  • I did not keep a linear journey when going through my imagery.

  • *How I resolved it: It can also be flipped from time to time…

  • I also colour-coded the background of each shelf in an imaginary bookcase.

  • A list of words to convert into images, to minimize abstractions:
    MemoryTable.txt (9.3 KB)

Yes, I know that I don’t necessarily have to memorize philosophy verbatim, but as the author of Rhetorica ad Herennium said that we must be masters at memorizing words before learning more complicated matters, and I am also aware that I could use the keyword method, but I’d also like to practice memorizing abstractions which would be later used when memorizing larger words. I.e: The = Thanos eating; The ory = Thanos eating Oreos

I find that sometimes it takes effort to recall imagery which is something I am trying to avoid. Are my problems rooted in inadequate imagery or is it inherent within my methodology of memorizing verbatim? (I.e: I should use the keyword method and let my brain fill the gaps)

P.S: Can we pls get an edit button? I had to delete this post the first time due to grammar errors…

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Yes, I know that I don’t necessarily have to memorize philosophy verbatim, but as the author of Rhetorica ad Herennium said that we must be masters at memorizing words before learning more complicated matters, and I am also aware that I could use the keyword method, but I’d also like to practice memorizing abstractions which would be later used when memorizing larger words. I.e: The = Thanos eating; The ory = Thanos eating Oreos

Since I last posted, I changed my stance and decided to filter out such filler words and allow my mind to fill in the gaps. I also eliminated colour-coding bookshelves because it’s too mentally taxing. Also started implementing some elaborative encoding and Dominic’s rule of 5.

Thought I might use the information as lyrics to my favorite songs too, which makes retention of the information more fun. But, I can’t help but get the feeling that what I am doing takes too much time.

My goal is to memorize a fact in less than 2 minutes. I also want my images to be profound, like how Lynne Kelly describes in her book - When she goes onto history journeys she sometimes has to tell her characters to quiet down to focus on the present moment. Any suggestions for further improvement in timing?

My first question would be what are you trying to memorise?

If you don’t do it already, I’d recommend practicing with words in Memory League. That should be the beat method of getting the individual words down. Focus on speed over accuracy, as that is what stretches your technique, when you go slowly you can convince yourself you’re using an efficient method when you aren’t.

If you want to build up slowly I’d recommend La Rouchfoucauld’s maxims. There are 500 of them, all 1 or 2 sentences

Final note, easy recall means you aren’t improving your memory for what you’re recalling. Any individual fact will become easier to memorise the more you repeat it. No image will stay with you forever, without repetition. I’d recommend spaced repetition with Anki if you want the information to stay with you long term

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