What is the Pillar Technique?

A couple of weeks ago I listened to a podcast from the magnetic memory method. I can’t remember the episode or the topic, but in this episode there was some kind of “pillar technique” mentioned.

I tried to find some more information about this technique, but I couldn’t really find anything.

Does anyone know, what this technique is and/or how it works?

Thanks.

1 Like

I’ve never heard of it myself, but Anthony Metivier—the man behind “magnetic memory”—is active here.

You might want to add “Magnetic Memory” to your subject title, just to make sure this thread catches his eye.

Bob

2 Likes

I’d advise you to just steer clear of that “magnetic memory” class.
It looks like it’s treated like magic just to sell the class for higher,
but there are plenty of free memory techniques and advices, especially on this forum / website.
There’s also memory champions who have a youtube channel.
Go to those who won competitions and give advice for free rather then those who claim you’ll be able to remember everything without effort…

5 Likes

There is a “gentleman” in the world of backgammon who works on, creates lessons, and sells coaching, using several different world class players. I have always had mixed feelings about his approach BUT I will point out that without the motivator of profit a business does not exist. If you feel you need to pay a coach to take the practice seriously this is not uncommon. I’m not a fan of Anthony’s marketing approach on the youtube but some people need to pay for things to make them take it seriously. Others need to pay for a cheerleader. Finally, It is faster to have a coach then muddle through on your own so underneath the cheese there is value and there are people with more money than time who want to by an accelerated learning path.

I’m personally of the “there is no royal road to geometry” crowd BUT after many years of dabbling I am no closer to success in any of my hobbies so either I am inadequate (quite possible), my method of learning is inadequate, or I lack stick-to-it-ive-ness (definite). Maybe a coach/cheerleader might have been worth it to me. I lack time and I do have desire. Had I been able to get over the hump to integrate the methods into life before I had to move on with real life things maybe I would have obtained big returns.

Back to pillar technique… yes ask Anthony… could be a renamed method or he might have a variation of and idea that he find works.

On the other hand between this site and a couple of others there is an almost infinite amount of material and cheerleading available so individually named techniques are probably not going to make a significant difference to your performance.

6 Likes

@metivier inspired James Gerwing to participate in a memory competition and last year, James finished 3rd at the Canadian Memory Championships.

2 Likes

I agree with @Robert and add a few remarks. (There’s a similar mini industry in the world of chess) A good coach is worth money. Not only for the discipline but also for guidance. Not every good practitioner is a good teacher. Good teachers are strong practitioners but they may not be champions. Really good teachers tend not to be salesmen. They tend to be quiet about themselves and their reps spread by word of mouth.

Memory techniques have been around probably since the dawn of human history. The techniques discussed here have been tested for millenia across several civilizations. They are well tried and tested and it’s unlikely that over all that time, the practitioners of yore missed some simple useful trick. I am very skeptical of any completely new method that might arise.

Unfortunately, memory work is undergoing a fad phase right now. There’s a lot of hype. A lot of books that are mostly breathless gushing about how amazing your new supercharged powers will be - just 10 mins a day for a week… One simple method works for everybody…

3 Likes

I’m not a member of the Magnetic Memory Method but I’d highly recommend it to beginners for a number of reasons. Structured learning in a community with an active coach is basically a school. Schools are a great place to start. Schools are not a perfect system of education in all ways but you learn a lot very quickly in a supported environment and eventually you graduate and go out on your own. I think there is a lot of value in having a clear method and being part of a community which practices a method the same way.

I think of my experience of learning meditation. I joined an organisation and we all practiced the same method exactly the same way. It was an extremely beneficial way of doing it because I made a lot of friends who had decades of experience. I wouldn’t have got that if I’d learnt meditation from a book and tried to do it on my own. I would have just been a dabbler.

Recently I purchased a course called The Mimic Method to learn the International Phonetic Alphabet for French. It cost US$197 and I hesitated for ages over the price. But eventually I jumped in and it was great. I learnt so much and it majorly kick-started my French learning. All the information in the course is available on YouTube for free but I wasn’t making any progress with that. Now my French accent and ability to hear and desire to speak is light years ahead of where I was a few weeks ago.

Another issue is that the truly great teachers often don’t want anything to do with rank beginners. So IMO laying a foundation and getting some experience from a school is a good stepping stone to advanced coaching or self-directed study.

4 Likes

My first exposure to mnemonics was from Kevin Trudeau and his Mega Memory course. I bought it from an infomercial and it was great (though I wish he had emphasized using memory palaces in real locations.) Trudeau, Buzan, Lorayne were all great salesmen, performers and teachers.

1 Like

I don’t know if it was an oversight—or if a description of what the Pillar Technique is something reserved for Magnetic Memory subscribers—but I couldn’t help noticing that the OP’s original question is still unanswered.

For the record, I don’t have any issue at all with the answer being part of a paid course. But maybe let him know, in case it’s something he’d like to invest in…?

Bob

3 Likes

Thanks for the replies. This turned out to be an interesting discussion.

1 Like

how so ? what was shared that is free in the spirits of this forum for learning and helping each other work on our memory? I m confused…

2 Likes

So Ive come here curious, what is he pillar technique ? and if it is a copyrighted technique, than please delete thread dear moderator, in good spirit with this forum, for nothing will be shared about it here. Or people will keep on coming here reading whole posts for nothing. So… is there such a thing as the Pillar technique ? if so, can it be shared here ? if not, lets close this thing please; its misleading.

Wishing this thread had some kind of constructive help in it, regarding the pillar technique, not anything else…

3 Likes

The pillar technique is discussed in Anthony’s Book “The Victorious Mind”. It’s basically adding imaginary pillars to the rooms in your memory palace. Then attaching several mnemonic devices/images to each pillar. I’ve heard of similar techniques where you imagine bookcases, etc to expand the size of memory palaces. In Anthony’s specific example he used each pillar to “spell out” a foreign word phonetically. That way one word could fit within a loci (by using pillars to gain extra stations).

3 Likes

Well @moo I think that I am going to buy Anthony Metivier’s Book which is “The Victorious Mind” but can you tell me whether there are any new memory techniques in The Victorious Mind" book if you have that book can you also tell me about the steps which Anthony Metiver uses to construct his memory systems,As this is the information that will help me in deciding weather to buy the Kindle version of that book or not,

Cheers.

1 Like

That book is more personal and autobiographical than others by Metivier. He talks about his own mental health and how memorization and practicing Advita Vedanta helped to quiet his mind.

He goes into detail about memorizing sanscrit mantras by each syllable. The mantras are basic advita questions like “who is it that is thinking: ‘who is this?’?” However the pillar technique is only briefly described.

I think lots of people describe similar techniques. Basically it’s a partially-imaginary memory palace. Take an existing palace and add imaginary detail such as a bookshelf or a pillar. You can then add even more loci on these imagined elements. I think it’s slightly less effective than real elements which means that the price you pay for compressing the amont of real loci is paid in reviewing.

3 Likes

Why is “the pillar technique” elevated to the level of a “technique”, as if it’s something special? I think it’s very misleading to keep calling minor tweaks like this a technique.

Applying the same logic, we should have a couch technique, and a chair technique, and a vase technique, and on and on indefinitely.

Elevating someone’s choice of what they put in a memory palace, to a technique is needlessly complicating the entire area of mnemonics.

3 Likes

:+1:

I disagree, @Celtic.

First, it’s not elevating something to give it a name. You call yourself Celtic. Is that complicating the entire culture you’re referring to?

By using the word “pillar” we are simply indicating an act of elevation and in a particular way that warrants the choice of this word. It didn’t come from nowhere and some people have found that improves other vertical descriptions out there, particularly the Vaughn Cube. (Should Vaughn not use the word “cube” in you estimation?)

As for technique, that word means a method or way of accomplishing something. As with Vaughn’s Cube, he’s quite right if he wants to call that a technique because it describes both the manner and the ability one could develop to tap into spatial memory.

Second, The Pillar Technique is special on a few grounds.

When someone doesn’t know something and they come to know it, that is one of the most special things in the world. Some people call it education.

It’s also special to me. Having a name for it changed its properties, and here we can circle back to the role of the word technique.

To conflate this name with couches and chairs is a bit rich on your part, but the fact of the matter is:

Someone can and did derive principles from using spatial memory in this manner.

If they were to use tools like chairs and couches in a way that they felt warrants giving it a name, I’m quite confident they’re not going to wait for permission to name it. If they give it a name that helps others remember it or at least identify it in a way that shapes how they use it, this does not mislead. It creates clarity for that person, and has potential for creating clarity for many more people because there is an imagistic frame that helps us understand the concept at a mental glance.

If such a term does not add anything to your practice, is it not the time to make that decision after working with it?

How can you really judge a thing as creating complication without looking into it, exploring it and through the lens of experiencing making your statement?

I’m very curious, and if you’ve written any books on the matter of mnemonics, or books outlining the appropriate application of names to things, I’d be very interested to interview you about your knowledge based on your considered offerings. (Videos or articles you’ve created would be great too.)

If you don’t have such materials, I would suggest that you create them to validate your views on what is and isn’t warranted in the world of naming things.

In the meantime, thank you for your comments. I feel inspired to think more about couches and chairs and run some experiments. For example, imagine having three chairs on a couch (possibly in a Vaughn Cube). With four legs on each chair you already have a number of stations to work with…

If it works well… would it be alright with you to call it The Chesterfield Mnemonic? I’ve never been very fond of the word “couch.” :wink:

5 Likes

With no disrespect to other opinions, I completely agree with Anthony that giving a name to a method or a system does help to remember the concept which can then remind specific actions.

I use it myself, and I found it to be very useful.
I have given a name to a few of my Linking methods. One of which is “Give it a life” method, another is “Clue-Shape” method and so on. These acts as a trigger to remember what was involved doing in a specific way rather then just saying “You could do this, or you could imagine that, you could try this” etc.
It is to remind that the name of the method specifies certain actions that are available to apply. I actually think it is a very useful thing to give it a name, with no disrespect to other people’s opinions.

That’s brilliant Anthony! Yes, that’s an immediate 16 locations mini place on the fly! This is a method I actually use myself but a simplified version of what you described. It’s giving me some extra ideas!

3 Likes

Hello,
I use the “Pillar Technique” in my Arabic language studies. I also use furniture. If I use a desk in a corner of the room, I might put something under the desk, in the front drawer and on top of the desk. If I use a standing lamp, I would use the lamp base, Maybe the pull chain or light bulb and finally the lamp shade. I like working from the floor up and front to back. Having people standing at your stations, you could use their feet, Knees, Waist Chest, Shoulders, head… So much fun stuff to work on. Have a great day.

3 Likes