Ars Memoria Part 3 – Method of Loci

Journey Method/Method of Loci

For memorizing larger lists we’ll be using the Journey Method also known as the Method of Loci.  For the Journey Method you need to pick a place, a route that is familiar, or your work office that has many different objects within or along it.  Suppose you pick your house, then mentally walk through your house starting at the front door and ending at the back door.  Make the hallways and each room part of your journey.  Try to pick furniture in each area that is different from all other furniture in the house.  You could also use your work route, or routes out to a friend’s house or the grocery store.  If you’re a mail carrier, then you already have a ready made route.  Another option is to start in your house, then add your work route, and then add to these two your office building.

Once you’ve picked the location or route you plan to use you need to break it down into groups of 5.  At each 5th place you will attach a mental marker.  Make it memorable and different for each 5th place.  Be imaginative.  Your route should up with over 100 individual places (and it should have at least 100 places).  Add in those markers every 5th place (5,10,15,20, etc.) as this will help in the future when you wish to recall something in the middle of a list.  Perhaps you wish to recall Romans 1:21-25 only.  By placing a marker at the 20th and 25th you will only have to recall the passage starting at verse 20 or work back from verse 25.  Without these 5th place markers you may find you have to start at the 1st verse to begin the recollection process.

Perhaps you cannot get a route with 100 distinct locations or more.  Then I recommend using what is called, The Knowledge.  The Knowledge is the information London taxi cab drivers are required to know prior to receiving their license.  It generally takes 2 years to complete this training.  They have to learn 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks & places of interests over 320 routes.  I don’t recommend using all 320 routes plus all the streets and landmarks.  However you can use a route that has enough streets and landmarks totaling 100.  Now you don’t need to travel to London and take 2 or more years to learn this.  We have the internet and some of those doing the runs have posted video of themselves traveling each of the runs.  Here is the first run:  Manor House to Gibson Square and here Manor House to Gibson Square with text.  You should also look around on Youtube for other Blue Book Runs.  At the KnowledgePics site you will find PDFs with the streets, turns, and landmarks for the first 14 runs.  This with the videos and the Google Earth program is all you will really need to create your own Journey route.  And at the official website for The Knowledge, in the right hand sidebar you will find links for Traffic Cams.  Use this feature.  I recommend downloading the 14 runs available at Knowledge Pics and then heading over to Wikipedia to find images of each of the locations.  Though Google Earth and the official site should have most of the landmarks already in it.  You can also use the website Quizlet which has the flash cards for most, if not all, of the Lists:  Flash Cards.  Now perhaps you’re thinking, Why do I have to do this for London when I live nowhere close to the city?  You don’t.  You could do the same thing with any large city that has landmarks, restaurants, businesses, etc.  But whether you use the information provided on The Knowledge sites or you use your local big city, you will have a Journey that will have at least 100 or more individual and distinct locations that you can use for the Journey Method.  For the gamers amongst you, what about a walk through of GTA: IV or Destroy All Humans part 2?  The Ancient Greeks & Romans would use imaginary locations to for their Journey Methods.

In the next post I will cover the basics of using the Journey Method along with when you should review the newly memorized information to help you retain it long term.  Tonight create a Journey of locations using your home that has at least 20 distinct and different loci.


3 responses to “Ars Memoria Part 3 – Method of Loci

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  2. Pingback: Ars Memoria – Part 4 Creating Your Journey | The Biblical Thinker·

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