Monthly Archives: May 2014

Art: from orality to literacy

Art has a vastly different purpose in non-literate cultures than it does in literate ones. Art in oral cultures is primarily a memory aid to the knowledge system while art in literate cultures is primarily aesthetic. A rash statement? I hope it’s … Continue reading

Posted in archaeology, indigenous memory systems, memory, Memory Spaces, mnemonics, orality, primary orality | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Socrates on the risks of writing

  Every new invention has its critics. Socrates warned against the spread of writing and the subsequent loss of the ability to memorise. Plato’s Phaedrus, written in about 370 BC, takes the form of a dialogue between Socrates and Phaedrus, an Athenian … Continue reading

Posted in memory, mnemonics, orality, Plato, Socrates | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Memorising and understanding history

I have been asked so many fascinating questions since I started this blog. One is about the way memorising can help understanding. I can best explain with an example from one of my experiments. This about a general understanding of history starting … Continue reading

Posted in art of memory, history walk, memory, Memory Spaces, method of loci, mnemonics | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Memorising the periodic table

I have been asked how you would use the memory arts to memorise the periodic table. I would use what is known as the Method of Loci or the Art of Memory. This method is attributed to the ancient Greek and … Continue reading

Posted in art of memory, memory, Memory Spaces, method of loci, mnemonics | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Memorising birds

I have now memorised the 408 birds of my state, Victoria, in taxonomic order. That means I can name each of the 82 scientific family names and all the birds in that family – all from memory. I am using … Continue reading

Posted in indigenous memory systems, memory | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments