What Tibetan Monks, King Arthur, and Jesus have in Common – Photographic Memory

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Pi, the symbol of numerical perfection, much like photographic memory is the sysmbol of mental perfection.

Interviewing the Monks

The photographic memory techniques of the Tibetan monks mentioned in the previous article are expanded on in this interview. To avoid unnecessary info follow the red font.

Castro: This is an ancient system. The original name of this system is the “Red Ruby Eyes of the Dragon.” A more recent name is the “Templar Knights Method,” and the current name is the “Bronnikov Method.” This is a “closed door” Tibetan system that generally takes 20-30 years to learn. But we’ve discovered that children under 14 can develop alternative vision as early as 12 days, and adults average of 3-6 months. However, the vision that’s developed is not the purpose of this method-it’s a by-product.

Hiltner: I’ve heard the skills developed called Jedeye Knight skills. So what else can be done with it, besides remote vision?

Castro: Level 1 is called Dynamic Chi-Gung. It’s the equivalent of moving a car, for instance, from fossil fuel to free energy. That’s what we’re doing, but with a human being, who is literally turning into a human being of light, where they activate a thousand atomic generators within the human body itself. As a result of that, you have tremendous health; the immune system and the regenerative ability of the organs are increased.

Level 2 is about activating the “psycho-biocomputer” (or it could be called the internal view-screen, or just plain vision). This activates photographic and holographic memory, as a beginning.

Remote Viewing

Now, the supernatural abilities many monks claim to have are a little bit hard for me to swallow without solid proof – the video below on remote viewing for instance. Remote viewing has been regarding in the past as a real and useful skill; the CIA employed many individuals who claimed to have this particular type of sixth sense after World War 2 when they learned that the Russians were successfully using spies with such abilities.

Although facts like this seem to point to a much higher use of the brain, our purpose today is not to explore the validity of “sixth sense” abilities, but to study and apply the more down to earth, concrete techniques that have been tested and proven.

The “psycho-biocomputer” that “activates photographic and holographic memory” is not a supernatural or psychic feat as many would like to believe, but a memory technique that can be learned. This is the concept of photographic memory.

Photographic Memory

Most people regard photographic memory as a superhuman ability, like when we see magic tricks as mysterious and impressive until we learn how the trick works, which is exactly why the magician “never reveals his secrets”. This brief excerpt illustrates the concept well:

Wikipedia’s summary of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court:

In it, a Yankee engineer from Connecticut is accidentally transported back in time to the court of King Arthur, where he fools the inhabitants of that time into thinking he is a magician – and soon uses his knowledge of modern technology to become a “magician” in earnest, stunning the English of the early middle ages with such feats as demolitions, fireworks and the shoring up of a holy well.

I love this book because it explores the suspicious nature of mankind, especially toward things we do not understand or cannot explain (technology regarded as evil magic), and also the converse response of awe and respect.

Photographic Memory is Still Sexy

Get ready for somewhat of a let down, because once you learn how to develop a photographic memory, the intrigue is gone, and more or less it will become yet another discipline to master.

On a more positive note, the people who do not understand the method (most everybody) will likely be impressed and respectful of your ability. That being said, the art of photographic memory is not a parlor trick or tacky prop, but a highly effective memorization technique.

The How To’s

Now to delve into the how to’s of the matter.

Because the goal is to store an image quickly, and recall the image in vivid detail just as quickly, we must break down our practice into categories:

  1. Visualization
  2. Mnemonic anchoring
  3. Speed training

There are two things to keep at the top of your mind:

  1. You must understand that a photographic memory is simply the ability to visualize information that you have seen  – it is a highly developed short-term memory in the specialized channel of spatial image recall.
  2. There is no such thing as a “true” photographic memory in the sense that the individual can see the image in question just as clearly as if it were before his or her eyes. Although this does seem to be possible (case and point – Nikola Tesla) , our goal is not to jump to that level right off the get go (if it is possible to begin with), but to start with the foundation of photographic memory which is a form of mnemonic anchoring and visualization.

 

Visualization

We will use the following image to demonstrate the foundation technique.

Visualization is a foundation technique that is overlooked as a general rule, but is essential in the development of a photographic memory, and thankfully, is actually fairly easy to master. For practice, create a batch of photos – save them to your desktop, organize them into files, upload them on Flickr or Pinterest, or root around in your attic for those photograph prints from the last high school reunion you probably would have never looked at since you took them – whatever works best for you. Take the image and observe it, then try to remember every detail you saw.

It won’t be much until you utilize the proper technique:

  1. Quickly identify the most important things to remember. (This is very useful in cramming for tests)
  2. Divide the image into sections, two or three at first, then more, as you get better at it. You must be able to vividly see the lines that divide your sections. An X is good because we already have the letter ingrained into our memories, but more elaborate dividers can be used sometimes to an even better effect.
  3. Speed – time yourself. If it took you 30 seconds to remember every important detail on an image, try to shave off 10 of those seconds, then another 10. You are in good shape if you can store and remember everything you need off of a page in 10 seconds or less, so use the ten second rule as your benchmark.

Mnemonic Anchoring

There are many methods of anchoring, but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll use the anchoring method that many memory gurus use to remember names.

You can anchor an image, name, or concept by attaching it to another image that is already firmly ingrained into your long-term memory:

  1. For the side quadrant of the image above, I would anchor the wing with an image of a seraphim (an angel that is made up mostly of wings) which would be stored in a specific location in my mind palace.
  2. To anchor the crown, I would have Jesus crowning the cheribum, in the same room of course. The other wing would be the same image as before, so there is now two angels being crowned.
  3. For the bow, I would create a hunting bow slung on Jesus’ back. In the center of this scene is Marlon Brando (initials MB).

Speed training

The hard part is doing all of this in 10 seconds. With practice, it is very doable, and the faster you get, the closer you are to your photographic memory.

If you have not figured out the importance of this practice, consider the benefit of  being able to simply stare at a page of text for 10 seconds or less – 1 minute max for 6 pages – and be able to recall all of the most important pieces of information the next day, week, month, and even year with some maintenance.

Or what about taking a mental screenshot of a crime scene that you can refer back to for clues? Not a crime scene analyst? How about reading people (here we go, he’s talking about Sherlock again..) or remembering vivid details about someone you met months ago? Or cramming for a test you procrastinated on for weeks. Memorizing poetry, learning a new language – the list goes on for a very long time, but the point is this: a photographic memory is valuable. Develop one!

All it takes is a little bit of practice –  German memory champion Boris Nikolai Konrad was able to memorize 280 words as well as 195 names and faces in 15 minutes. He also memorized 21 first names and birth dates within two minutes. These examples are the result of long and deliberate practice:

US memory champions spend an hour a day practicing their technique and exercising their brain. Interestingly enough Arnold Schwarzenegger’s work outs lasted 4+ hours. For those of us with less time available, 30 minutes a day is more than enough to achieve drastic memory improvement to include a base model photographic memory.

This article has only dealt with a part of the foundation – next we will cover phonetic mnemonics and the major system, which allows you to visualize and store text quickly and efficiently.

6 Comments

  1. HerLetters October 19, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    Thanks for taking the mystery out of photographic memory!!

    I often wondered if there was some way to at least develop and improve the memory even if not to the point of being photographic. Whenever someone says they have a photographic memory – it’s like “wow! you are so lucky.”

    And that makes me think why is it some people have a photographic memory to begin with, with likely no effort? While others to attain that would have to work for it? Is it just like other traits where some people have it and others have to work at it?

    Curious to know what you think.

    Reply

    • NF Hannibal October 29, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

      After extensive research on the subject, I can only come to one conclusion, and that is this: There is no such thing as a photographic memory in the sense that the individual can literally “see” a crisp and clear image of what they observed, without flaw. There has been only one “proven” case in which someone was able to demonstrate such an ability, but upon further observation, the conditions seem a little bit shady (the scientist and the woman with the photographic memory married soon after the study). People who claim to have a photographic memory typically utilize a systematic method of memorization which they prefer to keep others in the dark about – whether their claims are misrepresentations or accurate is not really up to me – but if you think about it, a person who develops a system that allows them to recite a 30 stanza poem after simply looking at it for a few minutes… I might have to give it to them.

      Reply

  2. isomKuade October 22, 2012 at 1:16 am #

    Fascinating stuff. You’ve got me intrigued, sir…

    Reply

  3. Jim January 18, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    Crazy monks…

    280 words and 195 names and faces in 15 minutes – that is unreal – I might try that someday…

    Reply

    • Xiahou January 18, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

      67,890 digits of pi in 24 hours and 4 minutes – Lu Chao

      Reply

  4. Xiahou January 18, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

    “The CIA employed many individuals who claimed to have this particular type of sixth sense after World War 2 when they learned that the Russians were successfully using spies with such abilities.” I did not believe this until I looked it up.

    Reply

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