Abracadabra: Language, Memory, Representation
Francis Yates The Art(s) of Memory
The arts of memory in Ancient greece
The story of Simonides at the palace of Scopas. Simonides of Ceos, The "inventor" of memory systems, more likekly the first person to give explicit for to a system.
The three classical sourcesYates' book introduces us to the three sources of the ancient Greek and Latin arts of memory.
Classical Learning: Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic
The ancient distribution requirements were as follows:
Grammar: the science of words and sentences, the proper construction of meaningful statements, alphabets, syllables, verb forms, tense, etc.
Logic: the proper form of argument using grammar. Sentences and syllogisms, precedents, consequents, predicates and statements. All the good stuff philosophers still argue about.
Rhetoric: The art (as in "technique") of using logic and grammar in public to speak to masses of people and to evoke images, to win arguments, and to cause emotion. "Persuasive speech" is what we call it now. Rhetoric had five parts
Obviously, it is "memoria" that interests us here.
Use an architectural space, place the images corresponding to what you must remember in particular well defined places, so that at a later date, you may wander through this space and retrieve these images at will and in any order.
Now, obviously, this means that the visual memory for buildings needs to be at least as strong as the memory for words. This is what Cicero realized: visual impressions are often the strongest.
The Rhetorica Ad Herrenium gives us the following advice.
Rules for Loci:
George Bush using his memory system
George Bush's memory system overloads (note blurring of images to right)
|Christopher M. Kelty Last modified: Fri Apr 25 09:09:56 CDT 2003|