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To say that he had heard of men who could take in fifty things in this way, and in one case, when he was living in Bombay, there was an exhibition in the house of a Hindu gentleman of high position in which the pandit remembered no less than one hundred things given to him at the one sitting. The Colonel believed, however, that twenty-four was about the maximum of new items that could be retained and the remainder must have been already known to the pandit. This estimate was certainly too low,...

Simplification And Symbolization

WHEN memorizing lists of things of any kind it is often an advantage to simplify very complex ideas and to symbolize abstract ideas. A good example of symbolization is related with reference to the Greek poet Simonides, who was one of the earliest known exponents of aids to memory. He invented, among other things, a simple device for committing to memory ideas which do not represent objects of sense, and are therefore difficult to remember. For example, in preparing a discourse concerning...

Bodily Aids

THERE are many very excellent exercises for the purpose of keeping the body fit. Some of them are positively necessary for the student who is inclined to be sedentary. The effect of the mind on the bodily functions cannot safely be ignored by anyone who takes up mental training. In concentration of mind, for example, there is a tendency to halt the breath outside the body I know one student who was occasionally recalled to the fact that he had forgotten to breathe in by suddenly choking. So a...

Meditation

ALTHOUGH it does not come within the purview of the average student, it will not be out of place for me to describe here the process of meditation, and explain how it can be done. The best preliminary exercise is what has been called the daily life ledger. Spare a little time in the morning or evening to review the experiences and doings of the day and think about them in a gentle manner. Quite apart from the mental exercise which it gives, this greatly rests the mind and emotions, as it combs...

Concentration Of Mind

MANY years ago I invented another simple experiment to help some of my students to gain that control of mind which is called concentration. This has proved itself, I think, to be the very best means to that end. Let me ask the reader or student now to try this experiment for himself in the following form Select a quiet place, where you can be undisturbed for about fifteen minutes. Sit down quietly and turn your thought to some simple and agreeable subject, such as a coin, a cup of tea, or a...

Numberwords

IN the year 1648 Stanislaus Mink von Wenusheim wrote a work entitled Relatio Novissima ex Pamasso de Arte Meminiscentiae,1 in the course of which he expounded what he described as the most fertile secret. This secret consisted in substituting letters for numbers and then making words and sentences from the letters. He appears to have been the first mnemotechnist to employ this plan in Europe, and his method was quickly taken up and improved by the famous G. W. Leibnitz, who also called it a...

Memorymen Of India

INDIA has always been a land of wonders, among which the memory feats of the Ashtavadhanis have long been conspicuous. An article in The Theosophist magazine for 1886 reports an occasion on which a memory expert of South India simultaneously kept in mind and did the following eleven things and afterwards correctly repeated the whole. 1. Played a game of chess, without seeing the board. 2. Carried on a conversation upon various subjects. 3. Completed a Sanskrit verse from the first line given...

Mental Images

IMAGINATION is that operation of the mind which makes mental images or pictures. Sometimes these are called also thoughts, or again, ideas. But thought is, properly understood, a process, that is, a movement of the mind. Thought is dynamic, but a thought or idea is static, like a picture. In order that the process of thinking may take place, there must be thoughts or ideas or mental images for it to work with, and it is at its best when these are clear and strong. So we take up as the second...

Expansion Of Ideas

IN Chapter III we have studied how to develop concentration by thinking of many things connected with a chosen object, taking care at the same time not to lose sight of it. For that purpose we made use of the four Roads of Thought. Now I propose to the student a very similar experiment for the purpose of expanding ideas, so that he may be able to do his best thinking about any object. Select your object, let us say house, and proceed to clothe it with all its directly connected ideas. The...

29

His familiarity with table, ink, lion, zodiac, elephant, and chicholo as follows The diagram indicated that a table was to him an object of the highest familiarity, ink an object of less familiarity, and so on through the examples of a lion, the zodiac and an elephant, to a chicholo, which was an object of the greatest un familiarity. Though we may note these degrees of familiarity, for practical purposes of learning and remembering it will be sufficient to employ two. Our aim in learning...

Footsteps Of Thought

I MUST now remind the student that the mind is dynamic and that it walks as though on two feet. This I have already explained. Sometimes thinking is called a flow of thought. Very good, but I prefer the simile of walking, as that reminds me of the static elements the ideas or mental images on which the feet of the mind may be thought to step. This is an important point. Therefore, even at the risk of repetition let me give another example, from my own experience. I start by thinking about a...

Zodiac

(1) To associate a familiar with a familiar, as, for example, lamp with dog, or man with river. (2) To associate a familiar with an unfamiliar, as, cow with obelus, or green leaf with chlorophyll. (3) To associate an unfamiliar with an unfamiliar, as, pomelo with amra, or scutage with perianth. Let me here quote Major Beniowski's excellent illustration Suppose a London publisher, who being for many years a constant reader of the newspapers, cannot fail of becoming familiar with the names of the...

Peace

Harmony, concord, friendship, calm, agreement, sympathy. Road II. A. Good citizenship, worthiness, holiness. B. Industry, devotion, perseverance, altruism. Road III. A. Fraternity, friendliness, tranquillity. B. Sympathy, game, agreement, arbitration, good-humour, co-operation. Road IV. A. Pipe, treaty, League of Nations, ploughshare, pastoral scene, pacifism. B. Safety, commerce, progress, armistice, truce. It will be noticed that some of the above lines of thought have two subdivisions. In...

Aids To Concentration

LET me now give some hints which will make a great improvement in the practice of concentration. Many people fail in concentration because they make the mistake of trying to grasp the mental image firmly. Do not do that. Place the chosen idea before your attention and look at it calmly, as you would look at your watch to see the time. Such gentle looking reveals the details of a thing quite as well as any intense effort could possibly do perhaps even better. Try it now, for five minutes, for...

Reading And Study

READING can be made into an opportunity for the development of mental power. Its effect is very often quite the reverse, for there is scarcely anything more destructive of mind organization and the power of thought than the habit of promiscuous reading without purpose and without afterthought or forethought. If you know any people who cannot read or seldom read, you may have observed that the condition at their minds is often superior to that of reading people. What they know they know well...

Familiarization

So far we have contented ourselves with simple exercises of the imagination. Let us now see what part imagination plays and can play in the grasping and remembering of ideas which are new to us. Suppose that we have to learn the letters of a foreign alphabet, the appearances and names of plants, minerals or persons, the outlines or forms of countries, or other such things, which are new to us. It is exceedingly difficult to remember these unfamiliar things, unless we first make them familiar...

The practical point is that the translation of vibrations

Into perceptions is within the power of our will. We can practise deliberate inattention to objects before our eyes. I am writing these words on a bit of paper on a blue writing pad. I find it quite possible to lose sight of the pad as well as my pen, by particular attention to what I am thinking, without turning my eyes away. Similarly it is possible to listen to the ticking of a clock or the sound of the wind in the trees, and then forget them while concentrating on some idea. I knew a man...

House

Abode, dwelling, domicile, residence, habitation, address, lodging. B. Cottage, mansion, cabin, shed, hut, hovel, tent, shanty, barrack, palace, castle, kennel, sty, pen, nest, hive, wigwam, hutch, villa, lodge, hotel, inn, bungalow. Road II. A. Room, hearth, floor, wall, door, roof, foundation, brick, mortar, tile. Village, town, farm, camp, park, block, row, square, street, road, terrace. B. Warehouse, shop, factory, field, orchard, garden, barn. Road III. A. Large, small,...

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Generally have their plan of life laid out for them very fully by others, but even so they sometimes find it difficult to get to grips with their programme. It is so tempting to take up the easy or favourite subject first, and neglect that which is troublesome or dull. But the student who wants to develop the powers of his mind will act by voluntary decision as to what is best. Sometimes a person will say I really cannot decide what to do I cannot see what is best. Assuming then, that you have...

The Power Of A Mood

WE have already seen that when I thought of a cat I thought of a hearth-rug (which is one of the ideas that can come out of that magic box), but I might apparently equally well have thought of whiskers, milk, claws, or mice. One of such ideas was sure to form the next stepping-stone in my chain of ideas or flow of thought. This chain of thoughts presents an unbroken succession. Each idea is succeeded by another, like the links in a chain. As in time things follow one after another, only two...

Projection Of The Memory

WE have considered and perhaps practised some simple experiments intended to make the imagination vivid and accurate. We have also applied the imagination to learning various things which may be new to us. Let us now consider how to use imagination to help us to remember various things when we want to remember them. There are plenty of memories in the world which remember a vast number of things, yet are of little use to their owners because they do not deliver rust what is needed or wanted it...

105

To discriminate the minor differences. In time, indeed, the new resident forgets the brown colour and does not notice it at all. Similarly do we appreciate the facial merits of our loved relatives, who may be homely or even repulsive to others. To add another example it has often been remarked that a shepherd recognizes by their features the members of his flock, which look alike to ordinary persons. Most people have not developed a sense of the relations between numbers, and have not practised...

111

Keeping the vowels free, so that they might be inserted between the consonants to form well-known words. His alphabet was 1 t 2 n 3 m 4 r 5 1 6 d 7 c, k, g, q 8 b, h, v, w 9 p, f o s, x, z. From these equivalents the number 812 (I take it from the date of publication of his work, as a random example) could be represented by words such as button, obtain, or Wotan. Other teachers of memory systems notably Aime Paris, Francis Fauvel Gouraud, Dr. Edward Pick, and others more recent, worked further...

The Magic

IMAGINE yourself to be standing with a party of friends in some Oriental market-place, or in a palace garden. Enter, a conjurer with a magic box. The strange man spreads a square of cloth upon the ground, then reverently places upon it a coloured box of basket-work, perhaps eight inches square. He gazes at it steadily, mutters a little, removes the lid, and takes out of it, one by one, with exquisite care, nine more boxes, which seem to be of the same size as the original one, but are of...

Modes Of Comparison

IN studying imagination we have seen that one thought or idea arises in connexion with another as a result of previous experience in which those two things have been closely connected. For example, an elephant might remind us of a zoological garden that we have known, or of the teak-wood forests of Burma. When this happens, however, there is no mental act of comparison between the elephant and the zoo or between the elephant and the teak forest. Their relationship is a case of proximity in the...

Logical Series

IT often happens that a student requires to remember a series of things. The days are gone, I hope, in which children are expected to reel off the names of all the kings and queens of Israel or of England, or of the capes on the coasts of Europe, Asia, Africa, or America. But it does often happen to anyone to be a convenience to be able to memorize a series of foreign words. Thus we might put together in suitable order the exceptions given by Dr. Pick as a mnemonic for the genders of French...

Info

Squares or places, I suggest that he may select number-words relating to some chosen category of things, such as Towns I Tokio, 2 New York, 3 Manchester, 4 Rio de Janeiro, 5 London, etc. For number 10 a town beginning with s or z Stuttgart. Here I use the first consonant only. Animals 1 dog, 2 hen, 3 monkey, 4 rabbit, 5 lion, etc. Materials 1 wood, 2 enamel, 3 marble, 4 iron, 5 leather, etc. Races 1 Tibetan, 2 Indian, 3 American, 4 Russian, 5 Liberian, etc. Locomotion i tram-car, 2 underground...

Baby

It is a choice between many ways that is being offered to us at every moment. Our attention is being called from a great number of directions at once. There is an endless competition among the objects of the senses for our notice there is likewise an endless competition among the ideas within the world of the mind for our attention. The attention finds itself surrounded with various alluring baits. Which will he take at any given time Will he prefer the hearth-rug or the milk In the succession...

Number Arguments And Diagrams

NEARLY all persons find it difficult to remember numbers, because these do not in themselves represent objects evident to the senses and therefore material for imagination. We can easily imagine two gate posts, three sides of a triangle, six surfaces of a cube, but when we go beyond this it becomes increasingly difficult to imagine the quantities of even quite definite things. It is still more difficult to picture the numbers representing quantities of units of measure. A teacher may feel that...

The Roads Of Thought

of our thought is often called concentration. Let us try a preliminary experiment to see exactly what this means. Sit down in some quiet place by yourself, and set before the mind an idea of some common object. Watch it carefully and you will soon find that it contains many other ideas, which can be taken out and made to stand around it or perhaps you will find that they leap out incontinently and begin to play about. Let us suppose that I think of a silver coin. What do I find on looking into...

More Concentration

IN view of the great value of concentration of mind, I will now give some exercises not by any means to be imposed on the student, but useful perhaps as playthings for him at odd times. 1. Sit down in your room and look round carefully, noting all the little things which it contains. Now close your eyes and make all those things go before your mind in imagination, until the entire procession has passed by. If you know an alphabet of foreign forms, such as the Devanagari, the Arabic, or the...

Uses Of The Will

It is a common thing among human beings to wait for the guidance of events. To some extent this is inevitable. It would be folly for a sailing-ship to set out from harbour in the midst of a terrible storm, or for a motor car to undertake a long journey on roads deep in snow. But often it must be confessed that we are not resourceful, so that, one thing being barred by circumstances, we do not make use of the conditions that exist. One effect of this weakness of waiting on...

Familiarization Of Forms

LET me now apply the method of familiarization to learning and remembering forms. We will consider first the forms of foreign alphabets. When learning these, do not try to remember them by simply staring at them. Look quietly at each form until you find in it a resemblance to some other form which is already familiar to you. Sometimes you will say to yourself that the form has no comparison with anything that you know. But that is never the case, as the following conversation between Major...

Writing And Speechmaking

I PRESUME that no one will venture to write an article or deliver a lecture who has not studied the subject of which he intends to treat. It is, however, well known that even when that has been done, a writer or speaker often forgets, at the moment when he needs them, several points and illustrations which he had intended to present in connexion with his subject. This can be avoided by the following means. Supposing that a speaker has considered the occasion of his article or speech, and the...

Placing The Memory

IN a previous chapter I have mentioned that the Greek poet Simonides had the idea of symbolizing complex or abstract ideas so as to remember them easily. The examples I took were from a hypothetical discourse in which government, financial matters and naval affairs and the necessity for wisdom in the policy of the time, would be represented respectively by a crown or sceptre, a current coin, the image of a ship, and the figure of Minerva. We are also indebted to him for the idea of using places...

Familiarization Of Words

THE principle of familiarization is especially useful in learning the words of a foreign language. In this connexion let me enunciate again two important points. Do not try to put an unfamiliar thing into the mind, and do not try to do two things at once, namely, to remember an unfamiliar word and also its meaning. To learn foreign words always reduce them to familiar sounds then associate them with their meanings. First take the foreign word which you have to learn, and repeat it to yourself...

1

So refrain from explaining the phonetics of the Sanskrit alphabet. One of the uses of this system is found in a commentary on the Ramayana, in which the number of verses is given in mnemonic form at the ends of certain sections. We find apparently unmeaning words ending in mana (a measure), such as garamana, which would indicate the number 32. The system is also referred to in other places, such as Vararuchi's Kadinava and the Laghu Arya Siddhanta. Now to the system which I advocate. It springs...

Fig C

Are tree and branch whale and blubber Bengal and India sea and waves book and page box and lid cow and horns bird and wings ten and five river and water. We may symbolize the relationship thus B. This occurs when two ideas or objects are different parts of the same whole. Examples are hull and sails of a ship thumb and finger of a hand , root and branch of a tree nerves and muscles stairs and door. We may symbolize the relationship thus A. This occurs when two objects or ideas are related as...