Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Give a long number such as 95862190377 to someone toremember and he will try: to repeat it as you present it to him,eventually getting bogged down in his own repetition; tosubdivide it into two-or-three number groups, eventuallylosing the order and content ofthese; to work out mathematicalrelations between the numbers as you present them, inevitablygetting confused; or to 'picture' the number as it is presented,the photograph in his mirid always becoming blurred!If you think back to the initial test in which you were askedto perform a feat like this, you will probably recall your ownapproach.Remembering long numbers is really quite simple if youapply the Major System. Instead of using this system as aword system to remember objects, it is possible to use thebasic words of the system itself to recall the numbers fromwhich they are made.Let us take the number at the top of the page. It is com-posed of: 95—ball86—fish21—net90—base37—mac7—keyIn order to remember this almost impossible number allthat we now have to do is to link the key words which relate tosub-sections of that number.The image-chain here could be of a large ball bouncing offthe head of a fish which has just broken out of a net and fallento the base level ofthe pier where it struckaman wearing a macwho was bending over to pick up his key.Recalling these words and transforming them to numberswe get:b-91-5f—8sh—6n—2t—1b-9s—om—3c—7k-795862190377!There is no need, of course, to remember these largenumbers by taking groups of two. It is just as easy, andsometimes more easy, to consider groups of three. Let us trythis with the number 851429730584. It is composed of:851—fault429—rainbow730—cameos584—leverIn order to remember this number, which is slightly longerthan the previous number, it is once again a matter of linkingour key words.We could imagine a force which caused a break or fault inrainbow coloured cameos which are so heavy they needed alever to move them.Recalling these words and transforming them we get:f—81-5
t—1r—4n—2b-9c—7m—3s—0l 5v—8r—4851429730584!A further system for remembering numbers such as this,especially if you have not committed the major system entirelyto memory, is to make up four-consonant words from thenumber you have to remember. Let us try this with a 16 digitnumber: 1582907191447620. From the digits we get 1582—telephone, 9071—basket, 9144—botherer, 7620—cushions. Ourimage chain can be of a telephone being thrown into a basketwhere an annoying person (a botherer!) has also been thrownwith some cushions. Recalling the number should by now be afamiliar process to you.To check on the amazing difference this method of numbermemorisation makes, go back to the original test-chapter andsee how easy those initial numbers were!

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