The seven deadly sins

 As an enlightened citizen of the world, one should know them, the famous seven deadly sins. Not to avoid them, but to swing them as a rhetorical club when necessary. It is particularly impressive, of course, when one can name the Latin technical terms from theology at the same time. Using the example of the seven deadly sins, I will demonstrate how any facts can be ordered and reliably memorized.


  1. The technique: route method
  2. Time to memorize: a few minutes
  3. Applicability of the technology: list-like information of all kinds

This oil painting (unchanged image) by Antonello da Messina, an Italian Renaissance painter (15th century), is a randomly chosen location for the route. This route consists of seven route points. Each of these route points will serve as a kind of universal drawer for information to be memorized. Let's learn the route first:

Imagine how you walk through the world of the painting along the marked route points. Now go through the route points again, this time without looking at the picture. If that works, we can start: now we will link the route points with information.

The actual memorizing of the facts takes place through arbitrary and strange connections between route point <-> fact. For this purpose, each deadly sin and its technical term are illustrated and mentally linked to a route point:

  1. Luxuria (lust) :  Leaning against the column stands a light lady (symbol of lust) with her leg bent. She wears a luxurious fur coat.Imagine this picture intensely (decorating it deepens the association immensely) and go to the next route point.
  2. Ira (anger): Like a madman, you tear out the peacock's feathers in a wild rage. Imagine the poor animal squirming on the ground. Sex & Crime adhere particularly well (in memory and good reputation).
  3. Gula  (Gluttony) :An overweight man eats goulash from a bowl like an animal.The gluttony becomes clear here all by itself. Don't be afraid of your own imagination!
  4. Avaritia (avaritia) : You see how the blue avatar searches the stairs, crack by crack. The stingy guy has lost a dime there and can't stop looking for it. Indeed, not every word has a perfect combination. Even the apparently most absurd association is a valuable safety net: we usually only miss the first syllable of a word. All the rest then comes to mind with the help of the first syllable (i.e. your picture - avatar).
  5. Invidia (envy) : A brand new Nvidia graphics card lies between the books. You look at the strange gem full of envy and instead take a frustrated book.Emotions play an important role in memory. This is because emotions are processed in the limbic system, a part of the brain in which the "control center" of conscious memory is located (the hippocampus). Therefore, evoking strong emotions helps learning / memorizing. However, physical pain wears off quickly. It is therefore not advisable to keep turning your nipple yourself while learning vocabulary.
  6. Superbia  (arrogance) : Annoyed by the haughty expression on the monk's face, they pour him super beer (particularly strong beer) on his robe. However, he only lifts an eyebrow in pity and haughtily shakes his head. Inventing things that don't really exist (super beer) can serve as a very strong link, provided the invention is visual and appealing.
  7. Acedia (laziness) : A wrecked soccer player lies on the bench. He is wearing an AC Milan jersey and is holding an old slide from his active days: the AC slide. But now he's just old and unspeakably lazy.
It is best to scroll up again to the route picture and go over all route points with the learned route points. If a link is lost, decorate the respective picture or build another, your own, instead. In fact, they often hold up much more strongly than strange images.
And now you're trying to go through all seven deadly sins in your head. The newly acquired knowledge should last about a week (even if it is not repeated). If you repeat it once in your head (e.g. when you are bored waiting for the subway) this period of time doubles. This example can give a first impression of what is possible with the route method. Incidentally, the 7-point route can easily be reused for new material (after about a day). And if the associations still seem to you to be unnecessary ballast of knowledge - ask someone to remember the deadly sins and foreign words. This is very likely only possible through multiple, mindless repetition.
Incidentally, Cicero already used this technique: before his virtuoso speeches he wandered around the venue. At prominent places (his route points) he put important key points of his speech as pictures. Methods of this kind (of which the route method is the most important) are called mnemotechnics (after Mnemosyne, the Greek goddess of memory).

Conclusion: with the route method you can remember information: 
1. sorted
2. reliable
3. pictorial.
How to create routes (the best ones lead through real places) and how to use them to memorize real learning material, we will show in future articles.

Historical note: The classic seven deadly sins go back to Pope Gregory II, who mopped them in the 6th century from an early Christian writer and varied them slightly. Whether he has to return his papal title because of unscientific citation methods is currently being examined by a special commission of the Catholic Church :-). In their modern interpretation one understands the seven deadly sins (also "main vices") today less as sins, but rather as the cause for them. Master Yoda already knew this: “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hatred leads to unspeakable suffering”.


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