Thursday, 5 April 2012

Project Update: Opening the Heart and Memory

It’s been awhile since this blog mentioned doing any magic and that is because I haven’t done any serious magic since the Detroit Lions played their last match. Actually that is not entirely true…I did some recently to help me to land an ideal job.

Anyway, landing the job is just the next step in my (now) 10 year plan to become a corporate wizard. It’s a ten year plan as that is when my earning potential is likely to peak. The plan involves milestones that indicate what job I should switch to and by what date. Also which interest circles that would be beneficial to move in and which are less useful.

For example, going to a monthly meet-up to network & discuss the latest news in technology domains and project management are on the list of things to pursue for next couple of years. As was pointed out in Strategic Sorcery in a recent blog post  – it’s important to decide where you look for value in investing your time & money.

Corporate Wizards use same-day delivery, not hobbit-mail

Anyway, getting the right jobs, pay etc is not a goal in of itself but rather the means to achieve it. Putting a strategy in to practice takes planning, skills, behaviours, knowledge and experience. Project Managers value regular introspection, or lessons learned as some call it, which means that you need to frequently review how you’re doing and work out what is working and what needs to be fixed.

On the subject of skills, one of the ones that I’m planning to improve is memorization. Fortunately there are already a number of books on this subject such as Frances Yates’ “The Art of Memory”. However, as Michael Swartz points out in “Scholastic Magic” (extracts can be found here) there is a difference in the way that the Greco-Romans would memorize to the Rabbinic schools that memorized the Mishnah (Oral Law). The latter were much more concerned with remembering the exact words, ‘Memora ad res’ versus ‘Memoria ad verba’. (I hope that I copied the Latin correctly).

Anyway, apparently there are a number of spells for improving memory in The Greek Magical Papyri. See PGM 1:232-47, 3:410-23, 3:467-78 and 3:424-66. Here is an extract from Swartz book for a ritual called peti(c)hat lev (opening the heart):
If you want to perform opening of the heart, purify yourself and take a cup of wine and say the psalm over the cup seven times and drink it. This one shall do three times in the morning and drink and one’s heart shall be opened to Torah. And this is reliable and tested. “My God, My God, why are you…”

Note: the Hebrew indicates that it should be done for three days, not three times in one day. Also psalm refers to psalm 63 (I think, it could be 22).

The question I’ll leave you with before the long weekend is: Why is memorization such an important skill when we live in an always-connected world where information is instantly accessible?