Artificial Systems Of Memory Improvement
The law of Association has been used in the majority of these memory improvement systems, often to an outrageous degree. Fanciful systems have been built up, which were artificial in their character and nature.
To a great extent the use of these systems is calculated to result in a decrease of the natural powers of remembrance and recollection, just as in the case of natural “aids” to the physical system there is always found a decrease in the natural powers.
Natural Systems Of Memory Improvement
Nature prefers to do her own work, without help. She may be trained, led, directed and harnessed, but nature insists upon doing the task herself, or dropping the task. The significant memory system, which forms a part of natural memory training is the principle of association, and should be so used.
But this principle of association results is the erection of a complex and unnatural mental mechanism when pressed into service in many of the artificial systems, which is no more a memory improvement in the natural ways, than a wooden leg is an improvement upon the original limb.
There are many points in some of these memory improvement systems, which may be engaged to benefit in natural memory training, by splitting them from their fantastic rules and complex arrangement.
We ask you to run over the list of the principal “systems” with us, that you may remove the useless material by recognizing it as such; and gather the valuable for your own use.
Idea Of Contiguity
Similar to the other ideas underlying many other “systems and secret methods”â€”the idea of Contiguity, in which words are strung together by fanciful connecting links. Feinagle describes it as; the recollection of ideas, which is assisted by associating some idea of relation between the two ideas.
And by experience we can tell that whatever is ridiculous is calculated to make a strong impression on the mind, the more ridiculous the association is the better.
The systems founded upon this idea may be engaged to recur a long string of detached words, and similar things, but have but little practical value, in spite of the high prices charged for them. They provide just as curiosities, or techniques of performing “tricks” to entertain one’s friends.
About the middle of the nineteenth century, Dr. Kothe, a German teacher founded this last school of memory training. Since that time, his thoughts served as the foundation for many teachers of high-priced “systems” or “secret methods”.
Then there are memory improvement systems or techniques based on the old principle of the “Figure Alphabet,” which helps to remember dates by associating them with letters or words.
For example, one of the teachers of this class of systems, wished her student to remember the year 1480 by the word “BiG RaT,” the capitals representing the figures in the date.
The student will find that nearly all the “systems” or “secret methods” that are being offered for sale in “courses,” often at a very high price, are merely variations, improvements upon, or combinations idea of position, idea of contiguity and figure alphabet.
New changes are constantly being worked on these old plans; new chimes sounded from the same old bells; new tunes played on the same old instruments. And the result is ever the same, in these cases dissatisfaction and disgust.
There are a few natural memory improvement systems available in the market. Most of them contain instruction and information that makes them worth the price at which they are sold. As for the othersâ€”well, judge for yourself after purchasing them, if you so desire.
Kay says regarding these artificial and fanciful systems that all such systems for memory improvement belong to what we have considered the first or lowest form of it.
To a great extent these are based on light or foolish associations which have little foundation in nature, and are hence of little practical utility; and they do not tend to improve or strengthen the memory as a whole.
Bacon says that these memory improvement systems are unproductive and useless. He also says that for immediately to repeat a multitude of names or words once repeated before, I esteem no more than rope-dancing, antic postures, and feats of activity.
Indeed, they are nearly the same things, the one being the abuse of the bodily as the other of the mental powers; and though they may cause admiration, they cannot be highly esteemed.”
One of the authority has said that the systems of mnemonics as taught, are no better than crutches, useful to those who cannot walk, but barriers and obstacles to those who have the use of their limbs, and who only require to exercise them properly in order to have the full use of them.