Memoria Obscura

What with the holidays coming up and all, time, time, time…

Also, I’m involved in attaining the impossible, specifically, Remembering Everything.

Obscure. Back up.

A recent back injury once again put me down. This is not necessarily a terrible thing, says the Optimist, as one gets time to read stuff. Included in this last round of two dozen books was Yates’ “The Art of Memory” and Spence’s “The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci”. Obviously, Thomas Harris’s new book was in the mix to even bring these two up. And Crichton’s new book was good, but that’s off-topic…

Folks, this is amazing stuff. Before paper became easy to get, people had to remember stuff, and did for their memories what Schwarzenegger did for his muscles. And yeah, used artificial stuff to accomplish the thing.

According to Yates, Pliny the Elder wrote in Natural History that Cyrus knew the names of all the men in his army; that Lucius Scipio knew all the names of ALL the Roman people; that Pontus knew all the languages of each of the twenty-two peoples in his domain (one would guess it was 22 languages, but that ain’t necessarily so.)

We in EMS (and elsewhere, to be sure) are required to memorize quite a bit of stuff. We’re given mnemonics, of a fashion, to do so – “ABC” for “Airway, Breathing, Circulation” for example, or “SLUDGE” for organophosphate poisoning – “Salivation, Lacrimation, Urination, Diarrhea, GI problems, Emesis”. EGBDF. I before E except after C. Stuff like that. But I certainly carry a quick-reference guide which tells me that a patient who takes ObscuraMax should not be imbibing AlcoChux because it contains BlebFactor…

So much neater to know it in one’s head, yes? But how to stuff all that crap in there? A plumber’s helper doesn’t work (it has been tried on Yours Truly.)

What was this artificial stuff they used? A procedure. A training, if you will.

So that’s what I’ve been working on, and, off I go to continue…


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