learning and memory palaces

The hard part of learning after studying a concept is committing the understanding to the memory palace. It takes a massive amount of mental effort to create the metaphors for the concepts, memorize them, jot them down, not to mention the maintenance of keeping these palaces from being forgotten with spaced repetition.

Given how expensive this work of trying to keep stuff in your long term memory is, try to keep its usage to very fundamental concepts you absolutely need to memorize. In music, that may be scales or the Circle of Fifth; perspective types, anatomy theory, or composition rules in art; in programming are the data structures and algorithms, or the language quirks (Go's goroutines or Rust's ownership and borrow checker); maybe even something trivial but frequently referred to like your VPS' IP address if you're like me and can't ssh into your server without pressing 100 times in the terminal.

In the end, the result is that you have extremely firm knowledge of whatever you've put into your memory palace. You're not worried about lacking fundamentals if they're all committed to your memory storage. Life's good when you can pop the name of any scales and its dominant and subdominant chords off the top of your head or you don't have to reference the docs every 5 seconds when programming in Rust.

You shouldn't abuse memory palaces to try to remember every single thing. For most trivial stuff, we'd be better off just putting them in a notebook somewhere and refer to them on the rare occasion they're needed, rather than putting in the work and maintenance to store a memory palace for them with the excuse of “maybe I'll need it someday”.

#toolbox