The Answer To Everything

22 May








Hello, The Map ThinkerTM here.

Haven’t posted From Under The Tree in a long while. Other projects going on.

The reason for this post is because I replied to a question about politics the following way, “The answer to everything is in the event that happens. If it hasn’t happened yet, or if it never happens, there is no answer.”

I was told RL (real life) not on Facebook, that my reply was stupid and made no sense.

Well, I won’t defend the intelligence of my reply but I will show it makes sense. That is if you have the time. If you don’t I understand. Making sense is tedious and not nearly as stimulating as, say, watching porn.

The post I replied to postulated what would happen if a certain candidate won the election. They would be in a position to appoint several Supreme Court Justices over the following 8 years. Those Justices could easily effect the legal system for the next 50 years. A scary thought when you think it through. The post attempted to persuade people who stated they would vote a certain way for certain reasons that they should consider the potential effect on the long-term future.

So we draw a map and see what happens.

In one corner we place voters. Any group that all agree they should cast their vote for a certain person for a certain reason. What they are agreeing on doesn’t matter. Let us say they all agree they should vote for Alfred E. Newman because he is the only candidate that makes sense. At least compared to all the other candidates.

The sad fact is that the more important the issue the less apt people are to voice their true thoughts and the more apt they are to say whatever the group they belong to will agree with. In a group of ten people one or two of the strongest will voice an opinion: One or two of the weakest willed, most easily influenced, will agree with them, and the remaining six to eight will quickly go with what they see as the majority.

To make it worse those who want to be the leaders of their little group of ten will be good at spotting the opinion their group will most easily flow to and voicing it. Thus, as you can see, it is easy to have this little group of ten people, or even an entire congregation, loudly spouting beliefs and reasons that not a single one of them believe in.

Having any discussion with these people about who they are going to vote for or why is a waste of your time and theirs because they do not intend to vote the way they say they are and they intend to do so for an entirely different set of reasons than you are addressing.

Then there is that wild card, the last-minute change of heart. Happens to everybody. All day long you have intended to go straight home. But at the last second you pull into Wally World, or A Local Bar, or an old friend’s house. There are people who will blink at the ballot they just filled out and wonder, “What the hell did I just do? And why?” And they may never receive an answer.

The upshot is we have no clue what voters are going to do based on what they say they are going to do.

The best indicator I ever heard of as to how people are going to vote was developed by (I think) Gallop Poll. They ask a bunch of school kids to vote and their votes tally pretty close to what the adults will do in a month or so. Which indicates we might be able to lower the voting age to 10 years old and it might not make a whit of difference in the elections.

Ice cream and candy, anyone?

In the next corner we put politicians.

Their objective is to say something that will both separate themselves from the other candidates and get them elected. The only promises we can be pretty sure they will keep are the ones that they believe will get them re-elected. Those will be saved, and fought for, somewhere near the end of their term. But wait, four years have passed. The issues they can fight for, and will get them re-elected probably will not be the same issues that got them elected the first time.

They are also subject to changing their viewpoints. Not just because of sudden changes of heart, but because when you are in a different position your perspective is different. Things that seemed simple and obvious when you were a candidate might not make much sense when you are elected. They might even cause more problems than they would solve. To make it worse trying to explain to the voters that you are not betraying them – You are seeing the light of day – Might be a lot worse than simply not keeping that particular promise.

Because the discussion included the Supreme Court and appointments to it, we will stick potential Supreme Court nominees in the third corner.

There are people who want to become Supreme Court Justices. Others do not. Usually those who do not can simply decline. But those who do will be watching the elections, and the candidates, very carefully. Now if they really want to become Supreme Court Justices, they will whatever it takes to become one. That means making the legal decisions that would be approved of by the elected candidate. Not necessarily the ones they believe are right.

After all once they are appointed they can make whatever decisions they want.

It has all ready happened that at least one Supreme Court Justice did the exact opposite of what everyone expected him to do.

So far we do not know what the people are going to do based on what they say, we do not know what the candidates are going to do based on what they promise, and we do not know what the future Justices are going to do based on their past performance.

So in the fourth corner we are going to stick “Change of Venue” for lack of a better term.

Political Ideology:

A liberal from the 1950’s would not recognize a liberal from today. Back then the liberals were closer to the laissez-faire and the libertarians than the liberals of today. Conservatives were more liberal than many of today’s liberals.

Political Parties:

Political Parties not only change – They completely reverse.

Abraham Lincoln who signed the Emancipation Proclamation was a Republican. The Democrats of his time were pro-slavery, dedicated to the proposition it was the “Will of God” and the “justification of slavery of black people” with the, “Sons of Ham” argument. If you are not familiar with the “Sons of Ham” argument here is a New York Time’s article to help clear it up.

Somewhere along the line Lincoln’s Republicans became Roosevelt’s Democrats.

All we really know about the future of Democrats / Republicans and Conservatives / Liberals is that definitions and positions will probably change.

Once appointed Supreme Court Justices tend to remain there for a long time. But one question that comes to mind is this: Will they remain the same in their ideology as they are now? Or will they change as the ideology changes? Or as their chosen party changes? Or something else.

In the middle of this map let’s put a big circle for what I call the WTF section. Samples of things from the past of events that have thrown everything people thought was important out the window – Even before windows wore a pane of glass.

At one time every little village had issues it thought were important. Of ultimate importance. The world at large had no clue that one little obscure village had discovered that horses were not a food but a vehicle. Until then people ate horses. Once used as vehicles that could be ridden into battle the world was never the same. The people who first witnessed them thought they saw horses with the upper bodies of men. The mythical creatures we call Centaurs. Every aspect of human life was changed forever.

People in Europe thought many many things were of great and lasting importance. Oooops, here comes Genghis Khan. Ooops, here comes Hannibal. Double ooops, here comes the black plague.

But not everything that changes the world is so dramatic. Socrates and Aristotle. Magellan quietly sailing around the world. Jesus. Mohammed. Copernicus. This is only a tiny list.

People thought Hitler was important and of lasting importance, but history tends to show those who attempt to dominate the world become mere footnotes in history, with Alexander the Great being the notable exception. Oddly violent episodes in history do not seem to carry much weight into the future, except possibly in the countries where they had the greatest effect. Cortez venture into Mexico, the Inquisition. The French revolution. To name a few. You almost have to be a history buff in order to even be aware some of these events and people existed.

The two people who were in Germany while Hitler was becoming what everyone thought was The Big Important Thing who HAVE actually changed life as it was known at the time were – and have irrevocably altered Human Future – Werner Von Braun and Einstein. Two people who pretty obscure at the time. Certainly not common talk at the dinner table.

Werner Von Braun gave us rocketry (Yes, I am aware of Goddard) which led directly to the Star Trek series.

Einstein gave us Relativity which led directly to Quantum science – Which, by the way, Einstein did NOT like, calling it “spooky” – and gave us the GPS system and an understanding of how plants change sunlight into chlorophyll.

So we look at this map with its five little circles, each filled with uncertainty, and with amazing potential, enough for a thousand Science Fiction Writers to play with, and we are asked to find a single accurate prediction about the future. And the only accurate prediction that can be made is that each minute into the future, each hour, each day, week, month, year, makes what is going to happen less and less predictable. Because we can’t really know what, or who, is really important until after the fact. Sometimes long after the fact.

So I submit my answer as being eminently reasonable. You can speculate about the potential future and the possible past all you want to — But:

“The answer to everything is in the event that happens. If it has not yet happened, or if it never happens, then there is no answer.”

© 2016 by Michael Berryman, all rights reserved.


Pick Your Words Wisely

3 Apr

Pick your words wisely.

MeHave you ever been told you should improve your grammar?

Should you?

Have you ever been told you should increase your vocabulary?

Should you?

Have you ever been told you will get more respect, earn more money, or move “up” in the world if you do these things?

Will you?

Have you ever been told the grammar you worked so hard to learn is sexist, racist, or has some other socially unacceptable fault that you should not do or use?

Should you?

Have you ever been told the new words you so painfully learned were pretentious and you should avoid them in favor of simpler words?

Nothing can be more confusing than language, called linguistics by those who confuse themselves (and everyone else) as they try to untangle the Gordian Knot of language and meaning. Yet there are some simple, easy to follow rules, that allow YOU to decide how YOU should use the language you were born to. 

And help you decide if you should even look at these articles on how to better yourself through language, grammar, etc. 

These articles have mostly been written by people who use language a certain way. The people they hang around use language the same way. And they believe everyone else should emulate them and use language the same way they do.

Have no fear:

I am the guy who seasons sweet potatoes with pico de gallo, puts a spoonful of curry powder in my orange juice, and flavors his water with a jigger of Balsamic vinegar. While I firmly believe there are other people in the world who do those things I can guarantee they are not for everyone. I will never ask anyone to emulate me.

Here is a simple guide to help you through the often confusing morass of verbal shoulds and shouldn’ts of everyday, and even formal, language. One designed for who you are.

Hello. I am the Map Thinker ™ I have not contributed to this blog in while for two reasons. One is I have a lot of projects going on. The other is I am planing on writing books aimed at a wider audience and publishing them at

I’m writing this blog because one of my favorite granddaughters, who is both smarter and better educated than I am got me to thinking about the subject.

Lets get started. I think using Mapological ™ reasoning and I recommend it to everyone else.

Lets build a Map. Every good map has three things. Potential starting points, potential objectives, and various routes between them.

The starting point for this map is easy. We start at the beginning. We start with the very first thing language accomplishes. Many people who are not into linguistics are surprised at this but it is true. And important. Other people realize it but never really thought about it.

The first thing language does is classify YOU.

It does not matter what the subject is you are talking about. It does not matter what your opinion is ON the subject. What matters is how the person listening feels about the group of people you belong to and/or with. And how the listener feels about that group of people. Some people, I am one, find people who are different interesting and immediately want to know more about them. (On the other hand I am quickly bored by people who spout the same opinion I’ve heard 400 times before.) Other people are only comfortable with people from their own group, their own circle, their own kind. And some people who would be horrified at the very concept of racism or sexism will have extremely negative reactions to entire groups of people. They often justify these prejudices based on “choice”. Proclaiming “You can’t choose your sexual orientation or your race but people who _______ (Fill in the blank) chose to be what they are.”

Common groups of disrespected people include, but are not limited too, poor people, bikers, cowboys, red necks, field hands, bankers, lawyers, politicians, physicians, southerners, yankees, Californians, law enforcement personnel, and the beat goes on.

From this it should be easy to see it doesn’t matter who you are, how you speak, or how you write – You WILL be criticized. The only choice you have is who gets to criticize you.

You will be judged.

Once we realize this is the start of our discussion, and this HAS to be the start of our discussion, we can start to draw our map.

When you have a starting point, and now we do, we can choose where on the map we want to go and how we want to get there. This requires making decisions. Two in this case.

What group do you identify with?

What group might you aspire to? If any?

Most articles aimed at telling you to improve, or change, your vocabulary, your grammatical style, or your speaking habits, are probably not aimed at you unless you are pushing your way up the corporate ladder. If you are then let me suggest you not only spend time mastering the art of speaking like the corporate executives in your company – You run out right NOW and take a good course in etiquette. The closer you get to the over culture the more important it is to know not to pick your nose with the salad fork.

Being judged like this may seem like a drawback, but it has some benefits.

Because many people do not choose to associate with those who are really different linguistically than themselves, you can thin out some of your unwanted unfriends and associates.

The example I will use are the two polar opposites. The cuss-a-holic and the devout-a-holic.

Suppose you know someone who is constantly exposing the most vulgar aspects of their thoughts in front of you. You do not have to be religious. Just start explaining to them how God feels about their behavior. Usually they will quit coming around you. It also works the other way. If someone is constantly in your face with religion salt and pepper your language with as many vulgarities as you may know. Most will quit coming around you.

If you belong to a group you are accepted by and that you like – Believe it or not most people are – Then you don’t need to do a damn thing to change the way you talk. In fact if you do you might alienate the very group you identify with the most.

If Y’all say Y’all why should you change just because you are in a place that says us’ens and we’ens, or youse guys?

Usually, for most people, the best thing to do with their language is nothing. Unless you aspire to join, and become accepted by, another group as part of that group. The only people who have to constantly keep up on it are academics and corporate climbers.

However you might want to belong to more than one group.

I once knew a banker who was a cowboy at home. He owned a horse ranch. And on weekends he was a biker whose scoot was a panhead. A layman might say he literally spoke three different languages. A linguist would say he used three different registers, one for each group. All it means is that when he rode his Harley he did not sound like a banker or a cowboy. When he was in the bank he sounded like a banker and when he was on the ranch he sounded like a cowboy.

In those days I would never have met the big shot banker, or the owner of the ranch, but I knew the biker dude. He was cool.

Sometimes two groups use the same words but mean entirely different things. When a biker asks me how my Ole Lady is I react one way. In biker culture “Ole Lady” is a sign of respect. When a citizen asks me how my old lady is I tell them “I don’t have an old lady. I have a wife.”

Few people want to be so diverse. And it comes with a risk. While some people admired his versatility others thought of him as a fake and a fraud. They applied the, “You can only belong to one group and be real,” rule.

As I say I do not recommend my way of dealing with people who criticize my language. I simply tell them, “If you don’t like the way I talk don’t listen to me. Nobody else does, why should you?”

So now you have a map. You can be happy with where you live or you can pick out a destination and head that way. If you do I hope you are happy wherever you end up.

© 2016 by Michael Berryman, All Rights Reserved.

Meta Concepts Equal Thought

25 May

Cogito ergo sum: Decartes wrote: I think, therefore I am.

This has inspired some conjecture on the nature of thought. Here we will not concern ourselves with what thought is, we will concern ourselves with what precedes thought.
I would change that: I am what I am capable of thinking.

I think like a human being, therefore I am a human being. A human being is able to think about concepts. Thinking is in fact metaconcepting. If I were to think like a dog I would to all intents and purposes be a dog. If I were to think like a whale I would almost certainly have to be a whale. There is no other way I could have a clue what concepts a whale has. Even the concept of hunger might be different for a creature who streams algae through its teeth.

Concepts precede thought.

You have the concept of hunger when you are hungry. If you have never been hungry the concept of hunger is difficult to conceive let alone think about. “Let them eat cake,” makes perfect sense to a little girl who has never had to go without anything.

A human can only think about those concepts it is A) aware of and B) willing to think about.

Thinking about concepts has survival value because what has survival value in one context may be dangerous in another. Creatures that cannot question their concepts find it far more difficult to adapt to new situations.

Once we accept that all concepts, including the concept of thinking about concepts, have survival value then the question becomes not “What is the concept” or “How do we define the concept” but “What survival value does the concept serve and how does it serve it?”

What survival value does the concept of a hammer serve?
How does it serve this survival value?

What survival value does the concept of evil serve?
How does it serve this survival value?

We need a metaconcept. A concept of concepts.

In order to examine this metaconcept full spectrum I choose to deal with what is currently a very controversial subject: Homosexuality.

On the surface GLBT behavior is counter survival.

Think about it: There are just under 57 million miles of land mass on the Earth. If there are only a couple of thousand people on the Earth, and they only live to be 25 years old top end, then everybody has to pitch in and do their heterosexual best to procreate.


But wait a minute: Now days there are over 7 billion people on the Earth and still have less than 57 million miles of land mass for them to live on. At 640 square acres to a square mile that is 36.5 billion square acres. Each person can get about 5 acres to live on.
Did I say wait a minute?
That person doesn’t just get to live on that 5 acres. It has to produce enough food for them to live on. That might be okay if all the land were arable. But it is not. Only about 7.7 billion acres are arable land. In order for each on those 7 billion people to have 1.3 acre each of food producing land we have to move them all into non-arable land. About 52 million square miles are habitable. If you want to get into this you might start your search at

To sum up: At some point homosexuality is not only natural it is the most effective sexual survival concept in an over populated world, or over populated part of the world. At some point heterosexual behavior is counter survival behavior when it comes to protecting the human species.



© 2014 All Rights Reserved

Survival and Concepts

17 May

1> No creature is capable of having a concept that is not directly related to survival.
A> In order to understand any concept a creature may or may not have one must relate it directly to its survival value.

2> Survival value falls into the following progression:
A> Survival of the individual.
B> Survival of the species the individual belongs too.
C> Survival of the overall ecology, or life itself.

A> Instinct for the survival of the individual needs no defense. It is so widely held a belief that it needs refutation, if possible.
In fact when we see instances of individuals of any species acting against its own survival most people are at a loss for any possible explanation except “aberration” or “insanity”.
Yet it has been scientifically demonstrated in several species this is not at all true.

B> It has been demonstrated in scientific studies that the instinct to save the species will override the instinct for self-preservation when certain criteria are met.
Rats, deer, and fowl, have all been studied in situations where overpopulation has become a serious problem. The study of deer, I am convinced, took place on Three Mile Island, but whether before or after the radiation incident I fail to remember.
Each species demonstrates traits similar to humans in large, overcrowded cities. From displays of hypertension to dysfunctional sexual activity, suicide, and murder.
Survival of the species overrides survival of the individual.

Survival of the Ecology over survival of the species is a little harder to demonstrate, but there is evidence, and that evidence begins with humans.
For our purposes we will define humanity as that species which has the most versatile set of concepts known to exist. No other species has yet been demonstrated to have as wide a variety of useful survival concepts as we have.
The concept of ecology over benefit to the species, in this case humanity, has come to the fore lately, but it has been around much longer.
When I was a child white people openly bragged about how they had come to American and tamed it. Made their mark. Changed the land and controlled it. While those ignorant savages, the Indians, had lived here for thousands of years and never made a single mark upon the land. It was as if they had never existed. White people then pointed to the cities, the skyscrapers, the roads, etc as proof they had civilized the land.
Nowadays most people take the reverse position. They see the Native American Indians as having lived in harmony with the land while the influx of Europeans defiled it.


Our concepts are changing because just as survival of the species trumps survival of the individual, survival of the ecology trumps survival of the species.

© All Rights Reserved

Concepts and Survival

27 Apr

This can get a bit abstract.

If you don’t believe in evolution it is hard to discern its survival value.

If you do believe in evolution it is still a bit difficult to follow.

Here it is.

If evolution is a fact of the universe then we humans cannot possibly be the pinnacle of it.

We can only be the last step we have encountered — At best.

Unless you are irrational, and note I did not say anything about intelligence. Many very intelligent people are irrational. If you don’t believe me check out the number of Mensa members in prison.
You would think a person that smart would either not commit crimes or be smart enough to only choose those to do those they could get away with.

Not so.

Highly intelligent people believe things that are highly irrational all the time. A good place to start would be with Aristotle. He believed things about Women and Deaf People that no one could possibly accept today. Things he could easily have discovered were wrong at the time, such as the number of teeth a woman has.

If you believe in evolution you HAVE to accept at the very least that it is possible humans are the next step in evolution, not the last step.

As species have evolved so have their concepts.

Many people consider the praying mantis as evil. She turns her head around and eats her mate while he is impregnating her. Many people consider rats vile because they eat their own, and other rats, turds.

Yet it is difficult to conceive of the mantis as having any other concept than an overwhelming desire to eat the thing upon her back. And it is just as difficult to conceive of the rat as having any other concept than a desire to eat the turd it finds in its path.

I am unaware of the survival value of a mantis eating its mate. But the survival value of a rat eating rat turds has been demonstrated. They provide nutrients the rat desperately needs but cannot get any other way.

Concepts change according to the needs and abilities of the species or subspecies involved.

The dodo did not change its concept of complete safety fast enough to save its species from the predatory humans. The humans in their joy of killing easy prey did not change their concept from hunter to farmer in time to save the dodo as a unique and viable farm animal in time to save the species. Perhaps because of their profession. They were sailors. Farmers would have instantly seen the potential and the military mind, ever alert that an army travels on its stomach, would have been very apt to have seen the potential of the dodo as a tame food source that should be protected.

I submit that every concept every creature has survival value. Species change their concepts as they are able too when the old concepts cease to have survival value and new ones are needed.

One notable example are otters. They were originally monogamous. When hunted to virtual extinction they became polygamous. This is not a simple evolutionary adaptation in form, it is an evolutionary concept in concept.

The evolution of humanity has been more in the evolution of its concepts than in its physical form.
© 2014 All rights Reserved

Manipulating Concepts

20 Apr

Let us draw a Concept Line™ for manipulating concepts.

At the far end we start with imagination. Without the use of imagination no manipulation of any concept is possible. It is possible, without words or questions, to manipulate a concept. To prove this we picture clouds in our mind. Clouds are a concept. Now we add wind. Wind is also a concept. Allow the wind to freely blow the clouds around that you have in your mind. Or if you prefer you can picture a stream. Allow your mind to freely picture birds, fish, or anything else to intrude upon your stream.

A unicorn perhaps.

Once we add imagination we next need the most useful ingredient of imagination. Play. Without a sense of play, humor, and fun, imagination is useless.

We start with sensory experience.
Sensory experience becomes memory.
Imagination is the ability to manipulate memory.

You can recall an experience as emotional, visual, auditory, etc as accurately as possible.

You can subtract from the remembered experience.
For example you can remember a physically or emotionally painful experience and cut yourself off from feeling (reliving) the actual pain.
You can picture a house with no walls, only a roof to give shade even if you have never seen such a thing.
You can picture a city with no people. You can picture a pigmy horse.

You can add to remembered experience.
You can picture a bean stalk a thousand foot tall. You can look at a puddle and conceive of an ocean even if you have never seen or heard of one. You can imagine a giant.

You can combine remembered experiences.

That which you perceive of reality is your raw material.
Your imagination is the tool whereby you can manipulate, explore, and understand the material you have gained.
The only limits too your manipulation of this material are those things you believe to be true and explore no further. Even if what you believe to be true is true, you are still limiting yourself if you do not question it. You thus prevent yourself from discovering any deeper truths it may contain.

A true Map Thinker™ rejects all limits to thinking freely.
© 2014 All Rights Reserved

The Evolution on Concepts

6 Apr

The concept of a claw hammer did not just pop into the human mind from out of non-existence.

First was the concept of a rock.

Somewhere someone realized you could pound with a rock. Perhaps this person broke nuts open with a rock.
The first stage of the concept of a hammer was born.

Somewhere someone threw a rock at something. Perhaps it was a nut in a tree. Trying to knock it down.
The first stage of the concept of a rocket was born.

Somewhere someone used a stick. Perhaps it was to dig beetles out of the ground.
The first stages of the concept of a fork and a spear were born.

Somewhere someone put a rock on the end of a stick.
The second stage of the concept of a hammer was born.

Just as humanity evolved as a species so did humanities concepts.

And here is a crucial fact:
Every concept humanity has ever developed has survival value.
I have never found a single concept that did not have survival value at the time it was conceived. Some of those concepts have had counter survival value when circumstances changed and select humans refused to revise their concepts. But every human concept has survival value in the right circumstances.

I state that concepts evolve.
This is easily demonstrated. Scientific concepts show a clear path of evolution.

Other creatures also have concepts.
Look at dogs and cats. They both have a concept of what is food and what is not food. They share a concept of humanity as a source of food and shelter.
Obviously there was a time when humans were not sources of food and shelter for either dogs or cats. At that time dogs and cats would not have this concept of humans. This concept had to grow over time.
This simple demonstration shows not only that animals do have concepts but also shows that their concepts also evolve.
In this we are not alone.

We can look at a bug as having a concept of what food is. Of what a predator is. In the case of ants and bees they must have some concept of home and community. Perhaps nothing like we humans have, but something that suffices.

It can be said that certain plants, those that turn their leaves or flowers toward the sun as it passes, have some rudimentary concept of pleasure if nothing else. It might be nothing more than warmth.

Each creature has exactly the number, or set (if you will) of concepts that it needs to survive.

The Concept Line™ starts at the vaguest sensory awareness.
A plant has, through warmth, light, or some other means, a sensory awareness of the sun. We know this because so many plants visibly react to the sun.
Whether the plant has any sensory memory of the sun when it is not present is something we cannot determine with any current or proposed technology I am aware of. However it has been demonstrated that plants discharge measurable energy when in the presence of someone who has abused them, say torn off their limbs.
Thus we can contend that plants have a rudimentary concept of pain and pleasure.

Moving along the concept line we can show that insects have a rudimentary concept of food and predator.
We know this simply because any bug will go after that which it considers food, be it a leaf or another bug, and will avoid, and or fight, those things that will in turn eat them.

Many fish live in schools. Some insects live in hives. This indicates a rudimentary sense of community.
Primates go so far as to show complex social structure and even politics.

Humanities concepts have not only evolved, but can be traced through anthropology.

Even more interestingly the human evolution of concepts can be demonstrated in its children. A baby has the most minimum concepts possible for a human being to have. As the child develops physical abilities and experience more concepts develop. For example babies are not born with depth perception, it develops later, and even then it takes time and experience for a child to judge exactly how far away an object is. Then even more time to judge how much time it will take the object, say a car, to reach them at a given speed.

However having a concept is not sufficient.

In fact having a concept, in and of itself, is only a survival mechanism only up to a point in the evolutionary ladder.
At some point what is done with concepts is more important than having concepts.

Socrates said “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
I say the unexamined concept is not worth having.

So at the far end of our Concept Line™ , not at the very end, we mark a point at which concepts are not simply held, they are manipulated.



© 2014 All Rights Reserved










Concepting Concepts

24 Mar




Let us go back.


I said that logically and grammatically discussing similarities between billiard balls, cue sticks, guns, rockets and asteroids was an act of using either metaphor or analogy. It is also pointed our quite frequently that one should be careful using them because the comparisons only go so far. The standard statement is, “If you carry an analogy too far you are sure to go wrong because they are not the same thing.”

This is based on the basic concept of logic that you draw conclusions.

A logician uses logic to draw conclusions.


The Mapologist™ does not.

The Mapologist™ does not use logic, except in rare, artificial instances, and they do not seek conclusions. The Mapologist™ uses Mapology™ to arrive at questions that can be verified, or at least tested.

I have said this before.


The question explored here is: “Why doesn’t a Mapologist™ have to be extra careful when treating analogies and metaphors?”

But like many questions that is the wrong question.

The right question is: “Why do logical people need to be so very careful when dealing with analogies and metaphors?”


The answer to the second question is simple. Users of logic deal with terms they believe to be true that produce results they believe to be true.


Logically Lake Erie is Lake Erie. It was the eleventh largest lake in the world before it was discovered and named. It still is. It can be treated as a fixed item in the universe.


Mapologically™ Lake Erie is a process. Every thing is a process. It has new water flowing in. Old water flowing out. It evaporates. It absorbs rain. A kid skips a stone across the water when it is still. The little circular waves radiating out from the spot where the stone landed soon fade and all is the same on the surface. But now the stone is on the bottom of the lake and the lake is forever changed.


This is just as true of human beings. Had I written this page yesterday, last week, or last month, it would not be the same as it is today. Were I to write this tomorrow, next week, or next month, it would not be the same as it is today.


When you are aware the claw hammer you use today is a continuation of the hammer you used yesterday,but is not exactly the same hammer, and when you are aware the claw hammer you use tomorrow will be a continuation of, but will not be exactly the same hammer you used today — you will also be aware that any conclusion made about the hammer at any given time is only temporarily true.

In other words drawing a comparison between life and an uphill path is not significantly different from drawing a comparison between last week’s hammer and tomorrow’s hammer.

In all situations you have to be careful you do not over do.


Thus all comparisons of all processes, even those that share continuity, such as a lake, a man, or a hammer, have limitations as to their accuracy and to the conclusions that can be drawn from them.


Thus when discussing Lake Erie today and Lake Erie of a hundred years ago you can draw analogies, you can create metaphors, you can name facts, but you cannot produce truths.

Lake Erie is a concept that has continuity.

A specific claw hammer has continuity.


Legally you have continuity from the day you were born until the day you die.


Genetically you have continuity from your earliest traceable ancestor until you have no more genetic descendants.


Most logical and grammatical metaphors and analogies do not have continuity. A path up a mountain and a life well lived have separate continuities. A person’s love for another and the depth of the ocean have separate continuities.


But all continuity aside they are all concepts.


A lake is a concept of lakes. It has continuity of similarity. From a single drop of water to a puddle, to a pool, to a lake, to an ocean. Each stage of the concept is a change.

Lake Erie is a concept of a lake that has continuity of itself. Each changing existence of itself is a change.


Nothing exists in our minds until we have a concept of it.


Socrates knew this when he said “We cannot discuss virtue until we know what virtue is.”


So now we have a metaconcept. A concept of concepts.


We cannot discuss anything until we understand the concept.


Socrates said this in Plato’s The Republic : “You cannot discuss virtue until you know what virtue is.”




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© 2014 All Rights Reserved

Concepting Hammers

2 Mar


As you can see the concept of a hammer is extensive.

As you can also see we could have ten thousand different names that label every tiny difference in any given concept of hammer. We can name claw hammers, for instance, by the shapes of their heads, the degree of curve to the claw, the weight of each, the length of the handle, and the various compositions of each. We could do this until it would require a month just to memorize the names of each possible variation of claw hammer.

And then we could declare that each “different” claw hammer was distinct and separate from all the others and you should never confuse them.

It would take a lot of study to master all of the terms. Many of those who had accomplished this would feel superior in their knowledge and education over those who did not know the “correct” terms. Even though those with the “superior” education might not be able to do the physical work half as well.

An example of this would be my late father-in-law. He lived well into his eighties and was a general contractor since the end of WWII. Bill could barely read and write. He had only a 3rd grade education and had worked on the farm all of his life. When the war came he went to France. When he came back his best friend, who had been studying for his contractor’s license, was set on consolidating his future. His friend had been better off as a child than Bill had been. He had a high school education, which was higher than most in those days. Remember in those days all you needed to get a job on any police department was an honorable discharge. He had studied hard for his contractors license and had received good grades. He had never done the work.

When it was time to go to San Francisco to take the test he did not want to go alone. He badgered Bill into going with him. Bill did not understand the need for his presence. Even though they had fought in the war together and had seen battle together, Bill was a man who could stand on his own. He had plowed the back forty for ten hours straight as a child, all alone, without any need for company. His friend had never been alone in his life.

So Bill went along. As long as he was there he went ahead and put up his three dollars to take the test.

Bill passed.

He friend did not.

They were never friends again.

His friend relied on his education to pass the test.

Bill simply pictured what he would do in any given situation, gave that as the answer, and passed.

His friend was enraged that an ignorant back woods boy had passed the test when a refined, educated, city boy like himself had not. He never forgave Bill. Nor would he ever lower himself to work for Bill.


Bill often drove me crazy because for many things he used the same words. I often did not know what he was talking about. For example: He called any thick liquid “Mud”. Coffee was mud. Cement was mud. Stucco was mud. Plaster was mud. Clay was mud.

For Bill “Mud” was a concept.

In order to know what kind of mud Bill was talking about you had to know the job. Thus Bill could go to the supply store, tell the proprietor, “I’m puttin up a wall in Mrs. Duncan’s kitchen and I need a couple a buckets of mud.” And the proprietor would get him the right thing.

In order to understand what his friend would say you would have to understand the nomenclature.


In a less extreme case, my wife, Pepper, was an artist who ranged across many areas. She did fine art painting, worked with glass, ceramics, and jewelry.

With jewelry and ceramics she often worked with wire wrapping.

Rather than naming each different kind and type of wire they are described by their qualities: Hardness, Shape, Size, and Material. Using this graded method the wire wrapper can describe thousands of different wires using only a few concept oriented words.

They do the same thing with clay with a few exceptions.

By the way jewelers use a chasing hammer, which is very like a ball pein hammer.


The point of this is that when dealing with a concept you can define its elements in many different ways, or degrees of ways, to obtain the degree of accuracy needed that is necessary to the purpose.


We could use different names for each possible difference in claw hammers.


Or we could simply call them all claw hammers and describe the pertinent differences to each and what made that claw hammer better for a specific reason. Such as the fact a lighter hammer is easier for a weaker person to lift while a heavier hammer delivers more force. Perhaps the materials of one makes it cheaper while the materials of the other make it more durable but more expensive.


Hammers are a concept.

Wire is a concept.

Mud is a concept.


Seen as you can make thousands, even millions, of words to describe the most tiny degrees of difference in concepts, there are far fewer concepts in existence than there are words.


Next blog will be about concepting concepts. A Meta Concept.


© 2014 all rights reserved.



Beyond the Hammer

24 Feb

So we are going to deal with the extended concept of a hammer. If you wish, and I often do, you may make an actual physical map. Draw a circle, put a picture of a claw hammer, or write the words in the circle. Put it in the center of a large paper. I’ve been known to place tiny little toys, like for doll houses, on the floor or 4’ by 8’ sheets of plywood resting on saw horses. This is so I can move my concepts around as needed.

A claw hammer is rather simple in concept. You have a handle that you hold, that you use to swing it with. On one end you have a head that does work. In this case the primary use is to pound in nails.

Opposite the face of the hammer is the claw. This is used to erase the mistakes you might make when hammering a nail in. You can take it back out.

We have just paralleled a hammer and a pencil.

In this area the concept is the same. One end does the work and has the potential of making a mistake. The other has the ability to remove, or erase, the mistake.

Place a pencil somewhere on your map, far away from the claw hammer.

A claw hammer normally hits a nail.

A sledge-hammer normally smashes things, such as rocks or concrete. A sledge-hammer is much closer to a claw hammer than a pencil.

An axe cleaves the wood apart. A hammer uses nails to cleave wood together. Yet the principle is the same. A hammer can be as small as a claw hammer or smaller. An axe can be as small as a hatchet. A hammer can be as big as a sledge-hammer, which is about the same size as an axe.


If a hammer hits a nail how different is a stick with a curved end that hits a hockey puck? Or a golf club that hits a golf ball?


Once a hammer is paralleled with a pencil how much easier is it to parallel it with a cue stick that hits billiard balls?


So now lets follow the concept of use. An air hammer, an electric hammer, and a hammer that shoots out nails like a bullet, using powder, all serve the same purpose and are all called hammers.


Following this path along its concept line it brings us to guns as hammers. In fact we can say the bullets “hammered” into the wall.


A concept line with a gun as the source will almost automatically go to rockets.


Let us see where this brings us in our thinking:


We will use the scenario of  a heavenly body approaching dangerously close to the Earth.


If it is small enough and we have rockets large enough with enough explosive payload then smashing it like a bug with a fly swatter (Are you now able to “illogically” meld the concepts of a shotgun, a claw hammer, and a fly swatter into one?).


If it is not small enough and we do not have large enough hammer to hit it with then perhaps we can “nudge” the object with a payload that will move it away from the Earth, perhaps into the sun. In other words I am talking about using a rocket as a cue stick to pocket a comet into our big fiery light bulb in the sky.


Suppose it is so large we can do none of those. Then perhaps we can do a bit of trick shooting. Say knocking a smaller astroid out of its path, sending it around the sun in a close orbit that triples its speed and shoots this high-powered missile into the offending rock — knocking it off its path and away from us.


Mapologically™ we are playing a cosmic game of pool. Because people who think using Mapological™ Methodology see an obvious continuum between a pool stick, a hammer, a gun, and a rocket. Thinking of the various bodies in space, asteroids for instance, as billiard balls is no great stretch. If you have a good glimmer of Einstien’s theories, thinking of the sun as a “pocket” to shoot for is no stretch.


However, as has been pointed out to me, often rudely, that, logically and grammatically, what has happened is that metaphors and analogies have been used to draw parallels between things that have no real connections with each other. Logically and grammatically playing billiards, sending a rocket into space, firing a pistol, and using a hammer, are all separate, disparate, distinctly different. Then it is often pointed out that you have to be careful when drawing conclusions based on analogies because “They only apply so far”.


Yet to a Map Thinker ™ metaphors and analogies are only different in degree, not in kind. They are easier to arrive at, and apply, because they are not fundamentally different.


Also to a Map Thinker™ it does not matter how similar any two instances are in appearance they are always different to some, possibly infinitesimal degree, and one should still be careful what conclusions you draw.


Finally to a Map Thinker™ drawing conclusions is not of primary importance or concern. What is of primary importance and concern is the extraction of pertinent questions.









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