The Beauty of Memorizing Backwards

| Memory

Memorize backwardsDear Memorizers,

We who use Memory Palaces all too often make the mistake of treating our Memory Palaces as a linear journey while rehearsing the material we’ve memorized during memory drills. Whereas it only makes sense to build your Memory Palace in a straight-line moving from the beginning to the end, when we rehearse the material we’ve memorized, we need to be more flexible.

It was Baudelaire who wrote that “Je hais le mouvement qui déplace les lignes,” but Magnetic Memorizers love both lines and movement, so here’s what to do with the next list of 10 words you memorize:

Using a pen and paper away from your written record, rehearse:

* one time forward

* one time backward

* one time forward from the middle position

* one time backward from the middle position

I’m starting to feel a bit like a military drill instructor here, but I’ve done this a lot in my own rehearsals, and it works gangbusters.


I’ve heard it said that the “map is not the territory,” which is maybe part of why Baudelaire wrote about lines and movement as he did – and that’s a powerful concept for people using the Magnetic Memory system.

This is because a large part of what we are doing is creating internal maps.

But here’s the cool thing.

When you have memorized a foreign language word or a bit of terminology or a poem or a mathematical formula, the map becomes the territory, and all the more as you use drills such as the one I’ve just described.

Until next time, Ten-hut! and then teach someone else what you’ve learned about Memory Palaces. Teaching a skill is one of the best ways to learn it and helping people improve their memory is one of the best ways we can make the world a better place. The more we remember, the more we can remember. And the more we learn, the more we can learn.

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