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Topical System

The topical system was used over 2,000 years ago to help people to remember. It's purpose is to help you form fixed positions in your mind which will allow your mind to act as a filing cabinet, so you can take information and file it into those positions for quick retrieval, storage, and recall. This system has been used by people to remember speeches so that they can give a speech without having to use notes. Nobody likes to hear a speech where the paper for the notes make as much noise as the person giving the speech. It will also allow you to be able to remember 20 facts after hearing them only once. It is used for remembering itemized accounts, statements, lists, and so on. First of all lets look at the symbols themselves. Then we will apply it to a situation so that you can really use it.

Here are the first 10 mental pegs for you.

First of all you need a way to remember the pegs. We can do this by making a little story. Picture yourself comming home. You stop at the mailbox to see what mail you got today. Go up the driveway and park your car, get out and walk up to the front porch and walk through the front door. Hang your coat in the closet and have a seat in the lounge chair (to look at your mail or relax). Turn on the lamp and read the newspaper. When you get through reading you move to the couch to watch some T.V. After a while you go to the kitchen table and pull out a chair to sit on. Grab a pan out of the kitchen sink and get some food out of the refrigerator to heat something up on the stove. After you eat you go take a shower, get your toothpaste out of the medicine cabinet to brush your teeth. By now its getting late so you go to bed and read a chapter or two of a good book, set your alarm clock and go to sleep.

Now lets see if we can apply this system so that you can memorize something.

Here is a grocery list.

  1. Milk
  2. eggs
  3. bacon
  4. cheese
  5. shampoo
  6. dog food
  7. orange juice
  8. butter
  9. roast
  10. toothpaste
With these items in mind, you take yourself on an imaginary tour of a wild excursion in your home. It should be seen as humorous, exgerated, and wild.
You drive home and stop to get the mail. When you open the mailbox, gallons of milk drench you to the bone. You look bewildered and get into your car. Immediately you brake the car because your driveway is blocked by thousands of eggs. You get out and walk to the front porch. Instead of the porch that you expect to see, you step down knee deep, into bacon strips. Huge ones that dangle all over the porch. You grab for the door, which has become a cheese wedge. You rush in and are greeted by the hall closet that is bubbling off its hinges with shampoo. The coat hanger is really a tube of shampoo. You rush over to the lounge chair and sit down trying to calm your nerves. You sink into a large can of Alpo dog food. A hundred dogs circle the chair with forks in their paws ready to eat. You jump up and turn on the light which sheds beams of orange juice instead of light. You grab the newspaper, hoping to calm yourself with the news (yea right) and are shocked by the large amount of butter covering the pages. You jump to the couch with the paper still sticking to your fingers. You flop down and come up now soaked with the gravy from the roast that is now the couch. Finally you decide that television can't be all that bad so you turn it on. Long strands of crest come squirting out at you through the screen.
The idea here is to make it funny and exciting. This will set it in your mind. By now you should have the general idea ( and also have the list memorized) and be able to come up with ideas for what ever you may want to memorize.

Visual Symbol System

Digit Letter System

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