The Use Of People

According to the author of Ad Herrenium, certain images stick in the mind, others don't; adopting the tone of a psychologist, he sets out to find the most memorable image.

'If we sec or hear something exceptionally base, dishonourable, unusual, great, unbelievable, or ridiculous, we are likely to remember it for a long time. We ought then to set up images of a kind that can adhere longest in memory.

And we shall do so if we establish similitudes as striking as possible; if we set up images that are not many or vague but active [my italics]; if we assign to them exceptional beauty or singular ugliness; if we ornament some of them, as with crowns or purple cloaks, or if we somehow disfigure them, as by introducing one stained with blood, or soiled with mud, or smeared with red paint, so that its form is more striking, or by assigning certain comic effects to our images, for that too will ensure our remembering them more readily.'

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