Assimilative Memory: How to Attend and Never Forget by Alphonse Loisette

Summary
  1. Good memory training system and operates in three ways. (1) It increases the general Impressionability, so that all First Impressions must be more vivid than they have ever been before. (2) It increases the general Revivability, so that First Impressions are more under the control of the will, and can be afterward recalled when desired. (3) It compels the Intellect to stay with the senses and thereby it abolishes mind-wandering.
Key Takeaways
  1. What is the basic principle of my system? It is, Learn by Thinking.
  2. What is Attention? It is the will directing the activity of the intellect into some particular channel and keeping it there. It is the opposite of mind-wandering. What is thinking? It consists in finding relations between the objects of thought with an immediate awareness of those relations. What is the Sensuous memory? It is association through the eye or ear of a succession of sights or sounds without any reflection or consideration of the units of the succession, or what they stand for, or represent. It is learning by rote—mere repetition—mere brainless or thoughtless repetition—a mode of learning that is not lasting—and always causes or promotes mind-wandering. What is Assimilative memory? It is the habit of so receiving and absorbing impressions or ideas that they or their representatives shall be ready for revival or recall whenever wanted. It is learning through relations—by thinking—from grasping the ideas or thoughts—the meaning and the comprehension of the subject matter. This mode of learning promotes attention and prevents mind-wandering.
  3. First Stage of the Memory—the stage of the First Impression, which is always the precursor of the Second Stage.
  4. Second Stage of the Memory—the revival of the previous experience—the recall to consciousness of the First Impression.
  5. There are three conditions of memory—(1) Impression. (2) Its Preservation. (3) Its Revival.
  6. INCLUSION indicates that there is an overlapping of meaning between two words, or that there is a prominent idea or sound that belongs to both alike, or that a similar fact or property belongs to two events or things
    1. Whole and Part.—(Earth, Poles.)
    2. Genus and Species.—(Animal, Man.)
    3. Abstract and Concrete.
    4. Similarity of Sound.—(Emperor, Empty.)
    5. Simple Inclusion embraces cases not found in either of the foregoing classes, but where there is something in common between the pairs, as (Church, Temple.)
  7. EXCLUSION means Antithesis. One word excludes the other, or both words relate to one and the same thing, but occupy opposite positions in regard to it, as (Riches, Poverty.)
  8. CONCURRENCE is the sequence or co-existence of impressions or ideas that have been either accidentally or causally together.—It is either the accidental conjunction of experiences or the operation of cause and effect; since even in the latter case, it is merely the sensuous facts of immediate succession that we know about, as (Gravitation, Newton, Apple.)
  9. Now when we find that two words express the same thought, either completely or partially, we say that it is a case of Inclusion, because the pair of words contains or includes the same idea. Inclusion is the first law of memory.
  10. Being nearly alike in meaning, we call them a case of Synonymous Inclusion,
  11. he made use of the cementing Laws of the Memory. He sought out and found the relations between the words. By thinking of those relations, he exercised his intellect on those words in a double way—the meaning and the sound of the words were considered and then the similarities of meaning and of sound were noticed.
  12. Where two ideas pertain to one and the same idea, but occupy opposite relations in regard to it, it is a case of Exclusion.
  13. Concurrence means that which has been accidentally, or as cause and effect, conjoined in our experience. Between the words or ideas thus conjoined, there is, strictly speaking, neither Inclusion or Exclusion. Whenever there are unrelated things which the mind holds together simply because it has occupied itself with them, then we have a case of concurrence
  14. My method is to keep the mind in an assimilating, absorbing condition when trying to learn by making the Intellect stay with the Senses.
  15. what we all require in such cases is to compel the Intellect to stay with the Senses, and follow the printed train of thought.
  16. Ideas are never words nor are words ever ideas, but words become so associated with ideas by habit, or by the Law of Concurrence, that they arouse certain ideas whenever they are used. They are used as signs of ideas—as the means of communicating them.
  17. a weak relation thought about is a hundred-fold stronger than mere repetition without any thinking at all.
  18. The true way to learn such lists as those of the Popes of Rome, the Kings of England and of the American Presidents is to learn them in their places in History, as parts of the Historical order of events to which they belong, as facts in the chain of causes and effects.
  19. The process of this New Method of Decomposition and Recomposition is as follows:—Find the shortest sentence or phrase that makes sense in the sentence to be memorised. Add to this short sentence or phrase, modifiers found in the original sentence, always italicising each new addition—one at a time—until the original sentence is finally restored.
  20. Interrogative Analysis or intellectual Inquisition is another and most effective mode of inciting the intellect to pass from a passive into an active assimilating condition when trying to learn by heart as well as to help create the habit of the intellect staying with the senses. The process consists of two parts: (1) To not only ask a question on every important word in the sentence to be memorised, but, (2) to repeat the entire sentence in reply to each question, while specially emphasising that word of the sentence which constitutes the answer to the question.
  21. The whole thing is in a nutshell. Numbers, as such, are abstractions and hard to be remembered. To make them hard to forget, we translate them into words or phrases.
  22. The nought and the nine digits are represented by the following consonants when they are sounded or pronounced; viz., 0 (nought) by s, z, or csoft as in cease, 1 by t, th, or d, 2 by n, 3 by m, 4 by r, 5 by l, 6 by sh, j, ch, or gsoft as in the first g of George, 7 ghard as in Gorge, k, chard as in cane, q, or ng, 8 by f or v, and 9 by b or p.
  23. memorising a Correlation, you so unite the two extremes in memory, that you need not afterwards recall the intermediates. The intermediates drop out of the memory
  24. An infallible method of remembering proper names is (1) Get the name when introduced. If not quite sure, ask for it. (2) Pronounce the name aloud whilst looking at theperson. Do this several times, if possible. The object is to produce a concurrence or connection between the sight-image of the Person and a sound-image of his Name. (3) To help the ear for sound, always pronounce everyone’s name aloud whenever you meet him. This helps nature. These directions carried out never fail to make a pupil perfect in remembering proper names.
  25. CONTRAST.—When unconnected ideas have to be united in the memory so that hereafter one will recall the other, the teachers of other Memory Systems say: “What can I invent to tie them together—what story can I contrive—what foreign extraneous matter can I introduce—what mental picture can I imagine, no matter how unnatural or false the juxtaposition may be, or what argument or comparison can I originate—no matter how far-fetched and fanciful it may be, to help hold these ‘Extremes’ together?”
  26. To remember Unfamiliar English Words or foreign words, correlate the Definition as the best known to the Unfamiliar or Foreign Word, and memorise the Correlation. In the case of Foreign Words, the last Intermediate is necessarily a case of Inclusion by sound. Sometimes there is In. by sight or by sound between a part or the whole of the English word, and a part or the whole of its Foreign equivalent, as Apple— apfel [German].
  27. The System has two important aspects—(1) It is a Device or Method of memorising or learning any facts whatever—prose, poetry, dates, data, formulæ and facts and principles of the sciences, &c., &c., &c., or anything whatsoever to be remembered. (2) There is another equally, if not more important aspect of it, namely, as a Trainer or Strengthener of the Natural Memory to any extent the pupil wishes to carry it. And the Natural Memory is so strengthened by the use of the System, that as a Device, the System is no longer required.
  28. Take the memories of members of the learned professions—they are usually only reference memories. They know where to find the coveted knowledge, but they do not possess it or retain it in their minds. On the other hand, the student who masters a book by my method really knows the contents of it, and he is thus enabled to devote to other purposes an enormous amount of time in the future that other people have to spend in perpetually refreshing their superficial acquirements.
  29. And in all your first attempts in reading a technical work, make out an Abstract of each chapter in writing, and then deal only with this Abstract.
  30. There are four methods of learning abstracts: one is by Synthesis; the other is by the Analytic-Synthetic Method, the third is mostly by Assimilative Analysis, and the fourth method is by the memory developed and trained by the System, but which is not consciously used.
  31. You correlate the Title of the First Chapter to the Title of the Book; next, the Titles of the Chapters to each other; and then you correlate, in each chapter, the first leading idea or proposition to the title of the chapter,
  32. No two persons would find the same relation in some cases, but, however different the solutions may be, they must always verify In., Ex., or Con.
What I got out of it
  1. Really good memory training system – tie facts, events, whatever you want to memorize into as many senses as possible and recall it enough so that it truly sinks in

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