The Mystery of Solomon Shereshevsky

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#1 12 August, 2017 - 21:43
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The Mystery of Solomon Shereshevsky


The Mystery of S., the Man with an Impossible Memory

Interesting article:

Shereshevsky’s own account of his life as a mnemonist diverges from Luria’s on its very first page. He dates their meeting to April 13, 1929, while Luria has it occurring a few years before, and Shereshevsky gives his age at the time as thirty-seven, while Luria asserts that his subject was still in his twenties. According to Shereshevsky, he returned to the newspaper that day and told his editor that his memory had been tested and was found to exceed the bounds of what was believed to be physically possible. Hearing this, the editor convinced him to give up writing—at that time, Shereshevsky’s specialty was brief satirical pieces that, in the early years of Stalin’s rule, had fallen from favor—and instead devote himself to performing full time as a professional mnemonist. In short order, he hired a circus trainer as his manager and travelling assistant and was coached by a carnival juggler on how to entertain. Then he set off for the provinces.

...Something else I learned that afternoon threatened to change my entire sense of who Shereshevsky was: His uncle, Reynberg said, could be forgetful. If he didn’t consciously try to commit something to memory, he didn’t always recall it later. I had imagined, based on Luria’s case study and the mythology that had grown up around it, a Soviet Funes, with flawless and involuntary recollection of his past. Reynberg told me that his uncle trained hours a day for his evening performances.

The Mystery of S., the Man with an Impossible Memory

12 August, 2017 - 23:25
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Joined: 7 months 1 week ago

Nice find. Savants that remember everything without even trying are looking more and more like myths strengthened by mystery and exaggeration.

Visualization is certainly important. I guess how memorizing with the MoL works is trying to imagine a series of scenes and remember them as if you had actually experienced them. Perhaps working on your imagination of sensory experiences, not just consciously but being able to feel your images more clearly overall and without effort, would improve you memorization.

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