Is Memory The Enemy of Learning?

Did you know that Cursive (connected letters), Printed Lettering, and
Spelling are being slowly eliminated? Many teachers in elementary schools have already stopped giving writing and spelling lessons leading to these ancient skills.

The use of our ubiquitous Word-Processor and Texting are the modern replacements, right?

Plato (not Mickey’s Dog)

In a dialogue by Plato called Phaedrus (15 BCE – 50 CE) Socrates says, “Theuth the Egyptian invented writing. The god, King Thamus suggested, ‘Writing would
only spoil Man’s memories and take away their understandings.’ Before writing
knowledge depended solely on a trained long-term memory. Did writing destroy memory as a learning tool?

So What

In ancient times memory was trained to retain encyclopedias of information. Today
only Moslems will use positive and negative reinforcement (severe punishment) to get their young scholars to memorize the entire Koran. Memory came first, then writing.


Five-thousand years ago (3,000 BCE) in Sumer, Mesopotamia (Iraq) the local priests invented a new form of writing. Why? The church (religion) was receiving large and numerous gifts of land, gold and silver and cattle and they could not keep track of it all. Memories fail, and when it comes to money do you trust Priests?

They used wedge-like letters printed in clay with a Stylus (stick). They baked their accounts (writing) in ovens and the results lasted for eons. It worked so well
most of the surrounding countries used Cuneiform (wedge-like) for the next
thousand years. Writing was invented for purely entrepreneurial (business) reasons.

Better Memory

Fact: we read 4x faster than we can speak. Speed reading permits us to absorb knowledge (not skimming) up to 12x faster. We teach both speed reading and
memory skills to 6th graders, high school students, college and graduate school
attendees. Law school students require both speed reading and powerful memories.

You can speed-recite the English alphabet like a whiz because of repetition and
that silly song. Why would you want to know the same alphabet – backwards?


Learn the backward-alphabet in order to exercise your hippocampus and PreFrontal Cortex. After use three repetitions your 3-lb. coconut creates
a new neural circuit exclusively devoted to the ‘backward-alphabet’.

Fact: the more you use your memory, the greater your Cognitive Reserve.

So What?

It creates a defensive-shield against many forms of dementia – including Alzheimer.
Learn the backward-alphabet will make you look like a genius in school and your career. Oh yeah, there is scientific evidence active cognition (learning) can increase your longevity up to ten good years.

Google: The Nun Story, Dr. David Snowden, University of Kentucky.

Break the alphabet into 3-letter chunks; use some common abbreviations and acronyms (initial letters from words) as Mnemonics (memory aids).


ZYX West Va. (WV), followed by Utah (UT), now an Acronym –
Some Reporters Quickly Pee ON (milk) MLK (doing a JIG) JIHG – FED
(Cost-Benefit-Analysis) CBA.

Using Imagination To Memorize

I am reading a tough book by the late Harvard professor B.F. Skinner. He never
used his first or middle name – only B.F. It stands for Burrhus Frederic.

I remember the weird first name by closing my eyes and going into Alpha
brain rhythm in 3-seconds and visualizing Jefferson’s vice president, Aaron
BURR. He was the guy who killed Alexander Hamilton (Washington’s Secretary
of the Treasury). Next I link BURR in the White HUS dining with George.

‘Burr was Fed (reminds me of Frederic) at the White Hus.’ It is on autopilot –
call up the name Skinner and memory produces B.F. which stands for “Burrhus
Frederic”. Once you create a mental image three-times it is a permanent Engram,
an independent memory-trace in your brain

B.F. said the follow: “One has most effectively helped others – when one can STOP
helping altogether.” Avoid ‘learned helplessness’ in your student by quit helping.

Peg System

Mentally picture these ten Pegs (hooks) to substitute for numbers.
Mark Twain said, “The mind hates numbers, it remembers in pictures.”
He was right because numbers are Abstract while pictures are Tangible.

Remember ‘abstract’ as ‘theoretical and immaterial’, while ‘pictures’ are
‘Concrete and real’.

Verbal Pegs

One (1) is Running – imagine the NYC marathon and thousands of runners.
Two (2) is Throwing – mentally visualize the quarterback throwing a touchdown.
Three (3) is Peeing – see a mental picture of a dog peeing on a fire-hydrant.
Four (4) is Scoring – See the Yankee sliding into home – safe!
Five (5) is Fighting – See the prizefight at Madison Square Garden.
Six (6) is Striking – call up a mental scene of a union teacher using her sign to
strike the principal over the head.
Seven (7) is Sleeping – visualize a baby in its crib in deep sleeping.
Eight (8) is Mating – imagine two hippopotamuses mating.
Nine (9) is Swine-ing – see in your mind’s eye a huge pig winning first prize.
Ten (10) is Hen-ing – imagine a hen laying an egg.
Zero (0) is a Hero – See President Obama pinning a metal on the war Hero.

EXXON-Mobile is selling for $60.83 . Convert the numbers to these Pegs

Imagine a movie: see the Striking (6) of the Hero (0) by the villain.
Now do the change – 83 cents. See the Mating (8) of the hippos, and the male
Peeing (3).

Close your eyes and automatically relax. You immediately go into Alpha brainwave rhythms. Maintain the picture one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, and three-one-thousand and it is placed into your long-term memory – permanently.

All it takes to retrieve the $60.80 price is to let your imagination see a huge EXXON sign. The sign drags the price along with it. Practicing stock prices using these 10
Pegs and it becomes second nature. It is baby-easy to learn and use. Start now.


Would you own a valuable competitive advantage by reading-and-remembering three (3) books, articles and reports in the time your peers can hardly finish one?

Contact us for a free (no strings attached) detailed report on speed reading before
they are discontinued.

See ya,

copyright © H. Bernard Wechsler

Author's Bio: 

Author of Speed Reading For Professionals, published by Barron's.
Business partner of Evelyn Wood (1907-1995) creator of speed reading.
Graduating 2 million, including the White House staffs of four U.S.
Presidents: Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon-Carter