Simple pleasures –– simple lists. Post your list of little things that make you happy in a world where there is often something to be sad about. This can also be a place for you to just rag about things that are a drag!
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Moonwalking with Einstein
Book group book was Moonwalking with Einstein, by Joshua Foer, and when I began the book I was thinking, 'I'll never need or REMEMBER to use these tricks for memory', so why finish?! But I did and I found it really interesting. I guess his premise is that we can all benefit from learning memory tricks, if only to take in, and appreciate, all details around/surrounding us, and that nothing can really be "learned" unless we have an inventory, from which to choose. That only by learning details of a specific subject can we begin to comprehend how those details fit into the larger context of a subject. For example, poetry, to first memorize a poem is important and then to analyze it. Because we can only really understand and pluck, if you will, from a big idea, the necessary elements or details to get that big idea. Fascinating. He also says there really are no such beings as savants. He went around to world to interview people who had been labelled 'savants' and discovered that they really are ordinary folks, who do nerdy things, like enter memory championships. There was a technique to memorization and that is "memorization palaces"; these are places, in which, storage of details is essential, and the way to do this is with POA, people, objects and action. So for example you have to remember a things 'to do' list of: pickled garlic, cottage cheese, salmon, wine, socks. What one has to do is choose a place. So I chose the house in which I grew up. Place the first item, at the end of the driveway, the pickled garlic. "Smell the garlic", imagine how it tastes and looks, in a big jar, at the end of the driveway. Now walk up the front steps, there, on the front stoop, is a big vat of cottage cheese, with Alonzo Mourning, walking around in it, naked. Yum. Then when you step inside the house, and turn left are the salmon, all sitting at the window, looking out, at the lake, with Rafael Nadal, batting them around with his tennis racket. As you look up the steps you see 6 wine bottles, dancing on the steps. At the top of the stairs are all different colored socks, hanging on the Al Held painting. One of the items on the list was, Email Sophie, so there she is, sitting, in front of a very large mirror, at the top of the stairs, typing an email, on the computer. Anyway, you get the idea. So this is how Joshua Foer won the US Memory Championship. It was quite extraordinary, this book, and I'm not sure it'll be useful. But hey, I'm game, for any way to improve my memory.