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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #1 
Memory performers seem to massively impress the general public, and for good reason... most of us fail to give attention to the world around us.  On the whole we walk around lost in our thoughts as our mind rambles away, caught up in future dreams and past memories, or to-do lists and our many desires. 

Nowadays there are world memory championships held every year, these competitions allow people to pit their skills against each other to be crowned 'Memory-Champ', but then what?

Most of them work ordinary jobs, or end up teaching memory workshops and writing books on their techniques.  The funny thing is we have phones in our pockets which contain more information than any of these folk can ever know - even the original 'Rainman' Kim Peek pales in comparison to a smart phone.

Yet memory demos still impress!

Perhaps this goes to back to our desires to be bigger and better, able to achieve more and more, learn faster than ever before. Imagine you could recall so many things at the drop of a hat, you'd be the envy of the crowd, able to leap a tall building in a single bound [biggrin] 

It amazing to me, because over the years I have met many folk who utilize their minds to a level way beyond that of the memory champs, and they have no knowledge of peg-systems, memory palaces and all the other jazz which is commonly taught - they just give attention to the world around them.

Maybe we could teach people to be more attentive during our performances, and help them to understand how useful this skill truly is.

In my old gigs I used 'Trivial Pursuit' game cards... 100 cards contained 600 questions and answers, all of which I'd memorized - I handed them out and people tested me.

I'd also memorize peoples names, playing cards and other odds and ends.  Funnily enough I discovered people were more impressed with me remembering the cards they held rather than the order of a shuffled deck, yet again I wasn't going to complain as half a deck is much simpler than 52.

Standard stuff, but better pay than a magic gig and a hell of lot easier too [wink]
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #2 
For some, old age wreaks havoc with memory. I do a couple of crossword puzzles every day and go over Aronson stack, but I know my memory isn't what it used to be. Things that don't have a pattern or logic e.g. memorized deck, the presidents of the United States etc are difficult for me to remember. I could write out a three page proof of some theorem on a math test. But that's because there was internal logic. And.... uh ... what was I going to say.....

Mike
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #3 
As the son of a father that suffered from Alzheimer's, I am also interested in memory for two reasons.  First, I experienced first-hand the ravages of the disease.  I will never forget the deep pain in my gut the first time my dad asked who I was.
The second reason is because it can be inherited.  Dad gave me some good genes in many respects but I hope I don't spend the last 8 to 10 years of my life like he did.  Like Mr. Powers, I try to do some memory exercises and am hoping that the "use it or lose it" is a thing.

I think memory is a fascinating medium for most people because they can relate.  They go into a room to get something and don't remember what, so when they see a memory demonstration it really impresses.  Makes them wish they could do it too.  

They could if they read Harry Lorayne's books on the subject!
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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #4 
We are shaped by our environment to a massive extent. Keeping our minds, and bodies active is most important. When I performed full-time I'd do evening and weekend gigs, and as the days were free I used to offer gigs to the old folks in the residentital homes. It was a most reawarding experience, and somewhat eye-opening. After the gigs I'd always hang back, have a cup of tea, chat and perform some close-up magic for the folks. Listening to their stories was inspiring, and informative. I'd also speak with the staff, and they'd often tell me how much of a difference my performances made to their residents.

One of the more interesting things I learned was those who had previously worked cerebral jobs often had great minds, but their physical attributes were failing them... on the other hand those who'd worked with their hands, or had more practical jobs were dealing with opposite problem, physically fine but having difficulties with their thinking. Now there are always exceptions to the rule, but I believe the 'use it or lose it' rule definitely applies in most cases.

There is plenty of research out there on how the memory works, how it can be improved, and not all of it is to do with taking memory courses, or utilizing brain-training programmes. Simple things such as walking in nature, the types of foods we eat, the media we use etc. can help.

Harry Lorayne has created training, written books and done a great deal for people interested in improving their memory... his books are well worth checking out too.

Here is a link to some articles on memory which you may find of interest:

https://www.spring.org.uk/2013/06/how-memory-works-20-psychological-insights.php

There is also an added advantage as performers to understanding how the memory works, doing so allows us to manipulate the audiences recollection of our tricks. Juan Tamariz, David Berglas and others have work on this.
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #5 
    All such silliness!!!!   Check out volume 4 of my "Best Ever" DVD 4-vol. set ----there's an hour of me doing my memory stuff for a lay audience.  (I used to do MUCH more than seen there.) All done without any of the silliness in the link above --- just applying my systems does it.  I couldn't find my name in that link --- someone (I think a few people) have written - writing about/talking about memory training and not mentioning Harry Lorayne is like writing about the theory of relativity without mentioning Albert Einstein! (It also shows ignorance of the subject.)   Anyway --- flattering.    (Yes, thank you - my books "are well worth checking out.")
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Intensely Magic

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
As the son of a father that suffered from Alzheimer's, I am also interested in memory for two reasons.  First, I experienced first-hand the ravages of the disease.  I will never forget the deep pain in my gut the first time my dad asked who I was.


Been through it. Ugly stuff, for sure.

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Intensely Magic

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Reply with quote  #7 
In Chuck Hickok's 1st Mentalism Incorporated, he went through his presentation for teaching the audience how to say the alphabet backwards. I used it for years and it was a great 5 - 10 minute warm up. Not really sure why I quit, actually.

Chuck supplied the handout he used in Word format to anyone that requested it. Most people could do it in 4 minutes or less.

Really a nice way to start I show I thought.

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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #8 
   ZAYBXCWDVEUFTGSHRIQJPKOLNM --- is the alphabet forward and backward AT THE SAME TIME.  When I was doing my memory act, if someone yelled out "can you say/do the alphabet backwards" - first I'd say "sure" - turn my back to the audience and start - "a, b, c..."  Then turn back, and say, "Here's a better/stronger way."  And I'd do "ZAYB" on the blackboard.  Then I'd point out every other letter, starting with "A" -- and then every other letter going backward, starting with "N".

      I teach this in MATHEMATICAL WIZARDRY and in that section - page 422 - of LORAYNE: THE CLASSIC COLLECTION, Vol. 5.

    Ya' gotta' start reading the good stuff, guys!!!!
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Nathan_himself

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Reply with quote  #9 
I never use memory in overt demonstration of skill. It doesn't really fit my character, so I keep it out. That being said, I am constantly using memory techniques from Harry Lorayne (and others) to keep my life in order. I never forget a face and rarely forget a name. That ability alone has helped me in my professional career. 

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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #10 
If you want to perform standard memory demos then Harry's your man.  His career as a performer is second to none, his work and books speak volumes, and they have of course helped many in day-to-day life.  However there is a lot more to understanding the brain/memory than Harry covers in his books.

Initially I started out performing the standard memory stunts of names/faces, numbers, cards, random object lists etc. etc. but then I began to delve deeper into the subject and alter my approach. 

This thread has two branches, one is the use of memory in performance, and the other refers to maintaining memory/concentration etc. in our older years.

If you're looking to memorize lists, faces, numbers and so on, then Harry is 100% correct, check out his materials. 

But if you're interested in all of the different ways our lifestyle choices can impact on our memory, and help stave off problems such as dementia/Alzheimer's and the like then be sure to delve deeper.  Doing so is an investment and can ensure you stay mentally and physically healthy into your later years.
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #11 
    Just applying my systems - or just TRYING to - is the best mental exercise I know. And - many doctors over the decades have agreed with me.
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