Last week officially started my learning project, and I dashed out the plan and started the work, since I was so excited about it. The project’s purpose is to set up a learning system to experiment with, and that will take the form of implementing some mnemonic systems and spelling out some study procedures based on learning research.
Last week I listed most of the mnemonic techniques and systems I’d found, and then I got sidetracked rereading and highlighting Memory Craft, since I love that book so much and it has a lot of unfamiliar advice.
This week I’ll start creating my mnemonic devices and sneak in some more notes on my sources and my own thoughts.
When I started researching memory techniques, I thought they’d just be a tool for learning, but the more I learn about them, the more I see they’re an art that can integrate with a surprising amount of my life. My research on them (1) motivates me to learn some foundational topics I’d been putting off that would give me hooks for further knowledge or that would help me develop other memory techniques (e.g., world history, data structures in programming); (2) points me toward some hobbies and practices I’d put on the back-burner that would give me memorable ways to encode information (music composition, sign language) or would give me components for memory palaces (home decorating, taking walks, video games, drawing, origami, knots); and (3) even involves conceptual modeling, since you have to analyze information to encode it in a mnemonic.
Memory Craft inspired me to listen to an intro history I had on my to-read list, E. H. Gombrich’s A Little History of the World, which felt like listening to a C. S. Lewis children’s story and was just the kind of history overview I needed, except that it was still very Eurocentric, so I’ll have to look for more in-depth treatments of other regions. But the main thing is it got me to care about the people and events of history, and it gave me some dates to start with for my own History Journey.
Last week on Ash Wednesday I started my listen through the Word of Promise audio Bible. The week’s readings were Gen 1-Deut 4, and this time to give myself material to share, I’m jotting down notes on my reactions to each day’s chapters. I’ll wait till the end to post my thoughts so I can link to them all in one place. So far I’ll say the recording is cinematic, which makes many parts of it very engaging, though I must say large stretches of it are still a challenge to get through, just because the Bible gets very bureaucratic and also far removed from 21st-century Western life.
At the suggestion of a member of my futurism meetup, I joined an AI meetup, and we had our first meeting last week. The people were very interesting, and the coordinator gave an overview of the state of AI that organized the technology in a simple but helpful way and gave me search terms for further research. I don’t know how involved I’ll get with any projects they cook up, but I’ll keep attending the meetings.
At work this year we’re doing book groups on the theme of diversity. Last year I used the book groups to make myself read Middlemarch, a classic and thus a book I probably wouldn’t get to on my own, and this year I’m taking the opportunity to make myself read To Kill a Mockingbird, which I may or may not have read when I was supposed to in high school. Of course, as usual I’ll be listening to the audiobook, which I started last week when I had some time after the day’s audio Bible assignment.