The Art Of Not Forgetting





A Brief but Comprehensive Treatise Based on Loisette's Famous System of

Memory Culture.



So much has been said about Loisette's memory system, the art has been

so widely advertised, and so carefully guarded from all the profane who

do not send five or many dollars to the Professor, that a few pages,

showing how man may be his own Loisette, may be both interesting and

valuable.



In the first place, the system is a good one, and well worth the labor

of mastering, and if the directions are implicitly followed there can be

no doubt that the memory will be greatly strengthened and improved, and

that the mnemonic feats otherwise impossible may be easily performed.

Loisette, however, is not an inventor, but an introducer. He stands in

the same relation to Dr. Pick that the retail dealer holds to the

manufacturer: the one produced the article, the other brings it to the

public. Even this statement is not quite fair to Loisette, for he has

brought much practical common sense to bear upon Pick's system, and, in

preparing the new art of mnemonics for the market, in many ways he has

made it his own.



If each man would reflect upon the method by which he himself remembers

things, he would find his hand upon the key of the whole mystery. For

instance, I was once trying to remember the word Blythe. There

occurred to my mind the words Bellman, Belle, and the verse:



---- the peasant upward climbing

Hears the bells of Buloss chiming.



Barcarole, Barrack, and so on, until finally the word Blythe

presented itself with a strange insistence, long after I had ceased

trying to recall it.



On another occasion, when trying to recall the name Richardson, I got

the words hay-rick, Robertson, Randallstown, and finally

wealthy, from which, naturally, I got rich and Richardson almost

in a breath.



Still another example: Trying to recall the name of an old schoolmate,

Grady, I got Brady, grave, gaseous, gastronome, gracious,

and I finally abandoned the attempt, simply saying to myself that it

began with a G, and there was an a sound after it. The next morning

when thinking of something entirely different, this name Grady came up

in my mind with as much distinctness as though someone had whispered it

in my ear. This remembering was done without any conscious effort on my

part, and was evidently the result of the exertion made the day before

when the mnemonic processes were put to work. Every reader must have had

a similar experience which he can recall, and which will fall in line

with the examples given.



It follows, then, that when we endeavor, without the aid of any system,

to recall a forgotten fact or name, our memory presents to us words of

similar sound or meaning in its journey toward the goal to which we have

started it. This goes to show that our ideas are arranged in groups in

whatever secret cavity or recess of the brain they occupy, and that the

arrangement is not an alphabetical one exactly, and not entirely by

meaning, but after some fashion partaking of both.



If you are looking for the word meadow you may reach middle before

you come to it, or Mexico, or many, words beginning with the m

sound, or containing the dow, as window, or dough, or you may get

field or farm--but you are on the right track, and if you do not

interfere with your intellectual process you will finally come to the

idea which you are seeking.



How often have you heard people say, I forget his name, it is something

like Beadle or Beagle--at any rate it begins with a B. Each and all of

these were unconscious Loisettians, and they were practicing blindly,

and without proper method or direction, the excellent system which he

teaches. The thing, then, to do--and it is the final and simple truth

which Loisette teaches--is to travel over this ground in the other

direction--to cement the fact which you wish to remember to some other

fact or word which you know will be brought out by the implied

conditions--and thus you will always be able to travel from your given

starting-point to the thing which you wish to call to mind.



It seems as though a channel were cut in our mind-stuff along which the

memory flows. How to construct an easy channel for any event or series

of events or facts which one wishes to remember, along which the mind

will ever afterward travel, is the secret of mnemonics.



Loisette, in common with all the mnemonic teachers, uses the old device

of representing numbers by letters--and as this is the first and easiest

step in the art, this seems to be the most logical place to introduce

the accepted equivalents of the Arabic numerals:



0 is always represented by s, z or c soft.



1 is always represented by t, th or d.



2 is always represented by n.



3 is always represented by m.



4 is always represented by r.



5 is always represented by l.



6 is always represented by sh, j, ch soft or g soft.



7 is always represented by g hard, k, c hard, q or final ng.



8 is always represented by f or v.



9 is always represented by p or b.



All the other letters are used simply to fill up. Double letters in a

word count only as one. In fact, the system goes by sound, not by

spelling, For instance, this or dizzy would stand for ten; catch

or gush would stand for 76, and the only difficulty is to make some

word or phrase which will contain only the significant letters in the

proper order, filled out with non-significants into some guise of

meaning or intelligibility.



You can remember the equivalents given above by noting that z is the

first letter of zero, and c of cipher, t has but one stroke, n has

two, m three; the script f is very like 8; the script p like 9; r is the

last letter of four; l is the Roman numeral for 50, which suggests 5.

The others may be retained by memorizing these nonsense lines:



Six shy Jewesses chase George.

Seven great kings came quarreling.



Suppose you wished to get some phrase or word that would express the

number 3,685, you arrange the letters this way:



3 .. 6 .. 8 .. 5

a m a sh a f a 1

e e j e v e

i i ch i i

o o g o o

u u u u

h h h h

w w w w

x x x x

y y y y



You can make out image of law, my shuffle, matchville, etc., etc.,

as far as you like to work it out.



Now, suppose you wished to memorize the fact that $1,000,000 in gold

weighs 3,685 pounds, you go about it in this way, and here is the kernel

and crux of Loisette's system: How much does $1,000,000 in gold weigh?





Weigh-scales.



Scales--statue of justice.



Statue of Justice--image of law.



The process is simplicity itself. The thing you wish to recall, and that

you fear to forget, is the weight; consequently you cement your chain of

suggestion to the idea which is most prominent in your mental question.

What do you weigh with? Scales. What does the mental picture of scales

suggest? The statue of Justice, blindfolded and weighing out award and

punishment to man. Finally, what is this statue of Justice but the image

of law? And the words image of law, translated back from the

significant letters m, g soft, f and 1, give you 3--6--8--5, the number

of pounds in $1,000,000 in gold. You bind together in your mind each

separate step in the journey, the one suggests the other, and you will

find a year from now that the fact will be as fresh in your memory as it

is today. You cannot lose it. It is chained to you by an unbreakable

mnemonic tie. Mark that it is not claimed that weight will of itself

suggest scales, and scales statue of Justice, etc., but that,

having once passed your attention up and down that ladder of ideas, your

mental tendency will be to take the same route, and get to the same goal

again and again. Indeed, beginning with the weight of $1,000,000, image

of law will turn up in your mind without your consciousness of any

intermediate station on the way, after some iteration and reiteration of

the original chain.



Again, so as to fasten the process in the reader's mind even more

firmly, suppose that it were desired to fix the date of the battle of

Hastings (A. D. 1066) in the memory; 1066 may be represented by the

words the wise judge (th--1, s--0, j--6, dg--6; the others are

non-significants); a chain might be made thus:



Battle of Hastings--arbitrament of war.



Arbitrament of war--arbitration.



Arbitration--judgment.



Judgment--the wise judge.



Make mental pictures, connect ideas, repeat words and sounds, go about

it any way you please, so that you will form a mental habit of

connecting the battle of Hastings with the idea of arbitrament of

war, and so on for the other links in the chain, and the work is done.



Loisette makes the beginning of his system unnecessarily difficult, to

say nothing of his illogical arrangement in the grammar of the art of

memory, which he makes the first of his lessons. He analyzes suggestion

into--



1. Inclusion.



2. Exclusion.



3. Concurrence.



All of which looks very scientific and orderly, but is really misleading

and badly named. The truth is that one idea will suggest another:



1. By likeness or opposition of meaning, as house suggests room or

door, etc.; or, white suggests black; cruel, kind, etc.



2. By likeness of sound, as harrow and barrow; Henry and

Hennepin.



3. By mental juxtaposition, a peculiarity different in each person, and

depending upon each one's own experiences. Thus, St. Charles suggests

railway bridge to me, because I was vividly impressed by the breaking

of the Wabash bridge at that point. Stable and broken leg come near

each other in my experience, as do cow and shot-gun and licking.



Out of these three sorts of suggestion it is possible to get from anyone

fact to another in a chain certain and safe, along which the mind may be

depended upon afterwards always to follow.



The chain is, of course, by no means all. Its making and its binding

must be accompanied by a vivid, methodically directed attention, which

turns all the mental light gettable in a focus upon the subject passing

across the mind's screen. Before Loisette was thought of this was known.

In the old times in England, in order to impress upon the mind of the

rising generation the parish boundaries in the rural districts, the boys

were taken to each of the landmarks in succession, the position and

bearing of each pointed out carefully, and, in order to deepen the

impression, the young people were then and there vigorously thrashed--a

mechanical method of attracting the attention which was said never to

have failed. This system has had its supporters in many of the

old-fashioned schools, and there are men who will read these lines who

can recall, with an itching sense of vivid impression, the 144 lickings

which were said to go with the multiplication table.



In default of a thrashing, however, the student must cultivate as best

he can an intense fixity of perception upon every fact or word or date

that he wishes to make permanently his own. It is easy. It is a matter

of habit. If you will, you can photograph an idea upon your cerebral

gelatine so that neither years nor events will blot it out or overlay

it. You must be clearly and distinctly aware of the thing you are

putting into your mental treasure-house, and drastically certain of the

cord by which you have tied it to some other thing of which you are

sure. Unless it is worth your while to do this, you might as well

abandon any hope of mnemonic improvement, which will not come without

the hardest kind of hard work, although it is work that will grow

constantly easier with practice and reiteration. You need, then:



1. Methodic suggestion.



2. Methodic attention.



3. Methodic reiteration.



And this is all there is to Loisette, and a great deal it is. Two of

them will not do without the third. You do not know how many steps there

are from your hall door to your bedroom, though you have attended to and

often reiterated the journey. But if there are twenty of them, and you

have once bound the word nice, or nose, or news or hyenas, to

the fact of the stairway, you can never forget it.



The Professor makes a point, and very wisely, of the importance of

working through some established chain, so that the whole may be carried

away in the mind--not alone for the value of the facts so bound

together, but for the mental discipline so afforded.



Here, then, is the President Series, which contains the name and date

of inauguration of each President from Washington to Cleveland. The

manner in which it is to be mastered is this: Beginning at the top, try

to find in your mind some connection between each word and the one

following it. See how you can at some future time make one suggest the

next, either by suggestion of sound or sense, or by mental

juxtaposition. When you have found this dwell on it attentively for a

moment or two. Pass it backward and forward before you, and then go on

to the next step.



The chain runs thus, the names of the President being in capitals, the

date words or date phrases being inclosed in parentheses:



President Chosen for the first word as the one most apt to occur to the

mind of anyone wishing to repeat the names of the Presidents.



Dentist President and dentist.



Draw What does a dentist do?



(To give up) When something is drawn from one it is given up.

This is a date phrase meaning 1789.



WASHINGTON. Associate the quality of self-sacrifice with

Washington's character.



Morning wash Washington and wash.



Dew Early wetness and dew.



Flower beds Dew and flowers.



(Took a bouquet) Flowers and bouquet. Date phrase (1797),



Garden Bouquet and garden.



Eden The first garden.



Adam Juxtaposition of thought.



ADAMS Suggestion by sound.



Fall Juxtaposition of thought.



Failure Fall and failure.



(Deficit) Upon failure there is usually a deficit

Date word (1801).



Debt The consequence of a deficit.



Confederate bonds Suggestion by meaning.



Jefferson Davis Juxtaposition of thought.



JEFFERSON.



Now follow out the rest for yourself, taking about ten at a time, and

binding those you do last to those you have done before, each time,

before attacking the next bunch.





JEFFERSON

Judge Jeffreys

(bloody assize)

bereavement

(too heavy a sob)

parental grief

mad son

MADISON

Maderia

frustrating

first-rate wine

(defeating)

feet

toe the line

row

MONROE

row

boat

steamer

side-splitting

(divert)

annoy

harassing

HARRISON

Old Harry

the tempter

(the fraud)

painted clay

baked clay

tiles

TYLER

Wat Tyler

poll tax

compulsory

(free will)

free offering

burnt offering

poker

POLK

end of dance

termination ly

(adverb)

part of speech

part of a man

TAYLOR

measurer

theodoilte

(Theophilus)

fill us

FILLMORE

more fuel

the flame

flambeau

bow

arrow

PIERCE

hurt (feeling)

wound

soldier

cannon

BUCHANAN

rebuke

official censure

(to officiate)

wedding

linked

LINCOLN

civil service

ward politician

(stop 'em)

stop procession

(tough boy)

Little Ben

Harry

HARRISON

Tippecanoe

tariff too

knapsack

war-field

(the funnel)

windpipe

throat

quinzy

QUINCY ADAMS

quince

fine fruit

(the fine boy)

sailor boy

sailor

jack tar

JACKSON

stone wall

indomitable

(tough make)

oaken furniture

bureau

VAN BUREN

rent

link

stroll

seashore

take

give

GRANT

award

school premium

examination

cramming

(fagging)

laborer

hay field

HAYES

hazy

clear

(vivid)

brightly lighted

camp-fire

war-field

GARFIELD

Guiteau

murderer

prisoner

prison fare

(half fed)

well fed

well read

author

ARTHUR

round table

tea cup

(half full)

divide

cleave

CLEVELAND

City of Cleveland

two

twice

(the heavy shell)

mollusk

unfamiliar word

dictionary

Johnson's

JOHNSON

son

bad son

(thievish bay)

dishonest boy

(back)

Mac

McKINLEY

kill

Czolgosz

(zees)

seize

ruffian

rough rider

rouse

ROOSEVELT

size

heavy

fat

TAFT



It will be noted that some of the date words, as free will, only give

three figures of the date, 845; but it is to be supposed that if the

student knows that many figures in the date of Polk's inauguration he

can guess the other one.



The curious thing about this system will now become apparent. If the

reader has learned the series so that he can say it down from President

to Taft, he can with no effort, and without any further preparation, say

it backwards from Taft up to the commencement! There could be no better

proof that this is the natural mnemonic system. It proves itself by its

works.



The series should be repeated backward and forward every day for a

month, and should be supplemented by a series of the reader's own

making, and by this one, which gives the numbers from 0 to 100, and

which must be chained together before they can be learned:



0--hoes

1--wheat

2--hen

3--home

4--hair

5--oil

6--shoe

7--hook

8--off

9--bee

10--daisy

11--tooth

12--dine

13--time

14--tower

15--dell

16--ditch

17--duck

18--dove

21--hand

19--tabby

20--hyenas

22--nun

23--name

24--owner

25--nail

26--hinge

27--ink

28--knife

29--knob

30--muse

31--Mayday

32--hymen

33--mama

34--mare

35--mill

36--image

37--mug

38--muff

39--mob

40--race

41--hart

42--horn

43--army

44--warrior

45--royal

46--arch

47--rock

48--wharf

49--rope

50--wheels

51--lad

52--lion

53--lamb

54--lair

55--lily

56--lodge

57--lake

58--leaf

59--elbow

60--chess

61--cheat

62--chain

63--sham

64--chair

65--jail

66--judge

67--jockey

68--shave

69--ship

70--eggs

71--gate

72--gun

73--comb

74--hawker

75--coal

76--cage

77--cake

78--coffee

79--cube

80--vase

81--feet

82--vein

83--fame

84--fire

85--vial

86--fish

87--fig

88--fife

89--fib

90--piles

91--putty

92--pane

93--bomb

94--bier

95--bell

96--peach

98--beef

97--book

99--pope

100--diocese



Items 21, 19, 20, 22 are shown as printed.



By the use of this table, which should be committed as thoroughly as the

President series, so that it can be repeated backward and forward, any

date, figure or number can be at once constructed, and bound by the

usual chain to the fact which you wish it to accompany.



When the student wishes to go farther and attack larger problems than

the simple binding of two facts together, there is little in Loisette's

system that is new, although there is much that is good. If it is a book

that is to be learned as one would prepare for an examination, each

chapter is to be considered separately. Of each an epitome is to be

written in which the writer must exercise all of his ingenuity to reduce

the matter in hand to its final skeleton of fact. This he is to commit

to memory both by the use of the chain and the old system of

interrogation. Suppose after much labor through a wide space of language

one boils a chapter or an event down to the final irreducible sediment:

Magna Charta was exacted by the barons from King John at Runnymede.



You must now turn this statement this way and that way; asking yourself

about it every possible and impossible question, gravely considering the

answers, and, if you find any part of it especially difficult to

remember, chaining it to the question which will bring it out. Thus,

What was exacted by the barons from King John at Runnymede? Magna

Charta. By whom was Magna Charta exacted from King John at Runnymede?

By the barons. From whom was, etc., etc.? King John. From what

king, etc., etc.? King John. Where was Magna Charta, etc., etc.?

At Runnymede.



And so on and so on, as long as your ingenuity can suggest questions to

ask, or points of view from which to consider the statement. Your mind

will be finally saturated with the information, and prepared to spill it

out at the first squeeze of the examiner. This, however, is not new. It

was taught in the schools hundreds of years before Loisette was born.

Old newspaper men will recall in connection with it Horace Greeley's

statement that the test of a news item was the clear and satisfactory

manner in which a report answered the interrogatories, What? When?

Where? Who? Why?



In the same way Loisette advises the learning of poetry, e. g.:



The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold.



Who came down?



How did the Assyian come down?



Like what animal did? etc.



And so on and so on, until the verses are exhausted of every scrap of

information to be had out of them by the most assiduous

cross-examination.



Whatever the reader may think of the availability or value of this part

of the system, there are so many easily applicable tests of the worth of

much that Loisette has done, that it may be taken with the rest.





Few people, to give an easy example, can remember the value of the ratio

between the circumference and the diameter of the circle beyond four

places of decimals, or at most six--3.141592. Here is the value to 108

decimal places:



3.14159265.3589793238.4626433832.7950288419.7169399375.1058209749.-

4459230781.6406286208.9986280348.2534211706.7982148086 plus.



By a very simple application of the numerical letter values these 108

decimal places can be carried in the mind and recalled about as fast as

you can write them down. All that is to be done is to memorize these

nonsense lines:



Mother Day will buy any shawl.

My love pick up my new muff.

A Russian jeer may move a woman.

Cables enough for Utopia.

Get a cheap ham pie by my cooley.

The slave knows a bigger ape.

I rarely hop on my sick foot.

Cheer a sage in a fashion safe.

A baby fish now views my wharf.

Annually Mary Ann did kiss a jay,

A cabby found a rough savage.



Now translate each significant into its proper value and you have the

task accomplished. Mother Day, m--3, th--l, r--4, d--l, and so on.

Learn the lines one at a time by the method of interrogatories. Who

will buy any shawl? Which Mrs. Day will buy a shawl? Is Mother Day

particular about the sort of shawl she will buy? Has she bought a

shawl? etc., etc. Then cement the end of each line to the beginning of

the next one, thus, Shawl--warm garment--warmth--love--my

love, and go on as before. Stupid as the work may seem to you, you can

memorize the figures in fifteen minutes this way so that you will not

forget them in fifteen years. Similarly you can take Haydn's Dictionary

of Dates and turn fact after fact into nonsense lines like these which

you cannot lose.



And this ought to be enough to show anybody the whole art. If you look

back across the sands of time and find out that it is that ridiculous

old Thirty days hath September which comes to you when you are trying

to think of the length of October--if you can quote your old prosody,



O datur ambiguis, etc.,



with much more certainty than you can serve up your Horace; if, in fine,

jingles and alliterations, wise and otherwise, have stayed with you,

while solid and serviceable information has faded away, you may be

certain that here is the key to the enigma of memory.



You can apply it yourself in a hundred ways. If you wish to clinch in

your mind the fact that Mr. Love lives at 485 Dearborn Street, what is

more easy than to turn 485 into the word rifle and chain the ideas

together, say thus: Love--happiness--good time--

picnic--forest--wood--rangers--range--rifle range--rifle fine

weapon--costly weapon--dearly bought--Dearborn.



Or if you wish to remember Mr. Bowman's name and you notice he has a

mole on his face which is apt to attract your attention when you next

see him, cement the ideas thus:



Mole, mark, target, archer, Bowman.





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