This article provides a practical explanation of the Major System. After reading, you'll understand the basics of this powerful personal development tool.
What is the Major System?
The Major System is a mnemonic device that makes it easier to remember series of numbers. It's also a phonetic number system, converting numbers into consonant sounds and then into words by adding vowels. According to mnemonic principles, it's easier to remember images than numbers. The Major System is based on that idea.
It was likely named after the 19th-century Polish military advisor and major Beniowski. Living in exile in England, he was an activist for radical organisations. Multiple inventors have been linked to the Major System, and several versions have been seen in recent centuries.
For example, it has been attributed to the French photography and mnemonic device expert Francis Fauvel Gourand. Later in the 20th century, it was popularised by the American magician, mentalist, and memory trainer Harry Lorayne. German historian Johann Just Winckelmann is also regularly mentioned of the Major System in the late 17th century.
The Major System is a so-called mnemonic device. It's a memory trick that helps people to easily remember a lot of information simultaneously. Examples are dates, long series of numbers, new people's faces, shopping lists, or big chunks of text.
It's based on the idea that information with no structure or a complicated one can be remembered by associating them to an alternative structure. When he parks his car in spot F-1 in a car park as large as a football pitch, chances are the driver won't manage to easily find it again. When spot F-1 actually has a picture of basket of Fruit (starting with the letter F), that image and the combination of the letter and the number will be remembered by the driver, helping him to easily find their car again.
There are many more mnemonic devices in addition to the Major System, with the Memory Palace being one of the most famous. By talking a virtual stroll through, for instance, your own home, you can remember objects or long series of numbers.
The first series of decimals of an infinite number like pi can be remembered and reproduced in that way; 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 .... The person who has to remembered is asked to visualise the front door and see the number 314 on it.
The entry hall has a balloon hanging in it with 159 written on it. Th...
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