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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.

Simple.

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 http://one-simple-idea.com/Environment1.htm.

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.

 

 

 
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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.

Thus:
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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2014 All Rights Reserved

Non-Hammer Hammers

26 Jan

The most obvious non-hammer hammers are air hammers and electric hammers. They look nothing like hammers but they perform the function and are readily accepted as such.

So what is the point of that?

A nail gun is a hammer.

As we go down to lower level structures we can trace two paths for a hammer concept.

One is a direction we are not going to pursue.  Very far, anyway. But, lets take a whiff of it. How far it can go. And perhaps why. Or  perhaps we should explore why first.

Oh, pardon me.

This is a blog proclaiming philosophy and I’m not being logical. There is no logical progression to this section of the blog at all.

That is because I am engaging in a Metalog. A MetaBlog.  I first came across the term metalog in Gregory Bateson’s “Steps to an Ecology of Mind”. If you are not familiar with Gregory Bateson, I cannot recommend him too highly.

Discussing the parts in a way that allows them to all come together in an understandable way. This is because we are dealing with the imagination, which resides in the deeper structures of the mind rather than logic which resides totally on the surface.

This is why logic is so complex and requires so much “intelligence” to be able to follow it. Because it is so divorced from reality. It is Extreme Surface Structure™ and Extreme Low Context Structure™. Once it has reached the maximum Extreme Low Context Surface Structure™ it becomes almost totally divorced from reality.

In order to keep it grounded its practitioners most negotiate a bizarre maze of rules, mostly called “fallacies” that appear to the uninitiated as unending and unimaginably complex.

Imagination is both simpler and requires less “intelligence” because it is reality itself. In fact it only requires the amount of intelligence required to negotiate the context it is faced with.

Which means an intelligence only requires the imagination that is required for the survival of the life form it inhabits.

Thus an army of ants only needs the amount of imagination required to use leaves to cross the water which prevents their progress.  Extreme Low Context Surface Thinkers™ ask, “How can an ant be so intelligent as this?”

A question that is nearly impossible to answer.

A Full Context Deep Structure Thinker™ asks, “How could an ant imagine this?”

In other words the question becomes, “What sensory experience can an ant bring to this problem of crossing water?” When asked in this way it becomes obvious. Ants walk on leaves. They have had that experience. Leaves float on water. Not sure how an ant would / could perceive that. One guess would be an accidental event some ants have survived.

Extreme Low Context Surface Structure Thinkers™ operate on the assumption the mind is designed for the purpose of discovering and determining Truth.

A Full Context Deep Structure Thinker™ assumes that all experience is processed by the mind for the single purpose of survival. A sort of Darwinistic approach to thinking.

Extreme Low Context Surface Structure Thinkers™  lump all sensory experience besides intellect as useless and totally discount all emotions as erroneous. They quickly and easily point out all the errors one can fall into when people rely on their emotional reactions.

And this is true.

What they don’t acknowledge is that “Logical Reasoning” and “Logical Reasoning” alone causes just as many errors, if not more, than emotional reactions.

The first being that there is such a thing as “pure reason”.

The second being that “truth” is attainable through a judicious manipulation of words.

The third is that Emotions and Sensory Experience should be discounted.

What the hell does this have to do with hammers?

Because where I am going to go with the concept of hammers has no Logical equivalent. There may be someone somewhere so skilled at Logical Manipulation to arrive at it, but I cannot conceive how they would, or even why they would.

It is not what logic is designed to do.

Logic takes itself seriously.

Logic is never playful.

The closest I have ever seen to logic being playful is the nine legged cat. And its purpose was to prove that you have to follow logical principles or you would make ridiculous mistakes.

A cat has four more legs than no cat.

No cat has five legs.

Therefore a cat has nine legs.

Extreme High Context Deep Structure Thinkers™ see reasoning as a survival tool that works best when treated as a mental playground.

The next blog will take the simple household hammer to this mental playground.

© 2014, all rights reserved.

Calling All Hammers

11 Jan

Some people may find this section a bit complex. In order to discuss the simple, lowly, hammer in a way that will effectively relate to Map Thinking™ we must take on several subjects. Prescriptive Grammar and how it conjoins with Aristotlean Logic to limit our thinking rather than to expand it. Hand in hand with this we must explore a concept in Transformational Grammar called “Deep Structure”. But we will explore the latter in a slightly different way than “normal”. We will do it Mapologically™. That is we will, almost automatically discuss “Surface Structure”, what it is and why it exists. Something I have not seen tackled in my readings of Transformation Grammar. A pugnacious oversight in my opinion. (Note: The term “deep structure” doesn’t seem to be in vogue right now and I used it in a slightly different way than it is used in transformational grammar. We’ll get into that later.)

 

 

Yeah, I know. A hammer is a hammer.

What is so complicated about that?

 

We have a thing. We call this thing a hammer. From now on that is its name: Hammer.

We have named an object. A very specific object. When people say “Hammer” they normally mean an everyday claw hammer.

 

There are other kinds. In order to fully understand mapping we must understand both these other kinds of hammers and this thing called “deep structure”.

But first:

We will discuss some of the various kinds of hammers.

 

Claw hammers, most common, used by most people. Has one flat side to hit nails with and a claw on the other side to pull out the nails we have mishammered. (Oh, and please forgive me, [the] Gods of Grammar — No such word as “mishammered” has been ordained by them to exist — Therefore it MUST NOT be used even though everyone understands its meaning immediately. My sins I do confess.)

Normal people using their naturally grown Mapping skills and Deep Structure connections they will use a normal claw hammer for a lot of “inappropriate” things. Such as perhaps to use the claw for a screwdriver, or a hoe to dig in the dirt, or the wooden handle to widen a hole in drywall, or even the edge t the top of the handle to scrape away paint.

Superior people, who have mastered the concept of “Logical Necessity” are horrified by these sacrileges against surface structure. They will tell you, in no uncertain terms, that “Hammers are hammers” and “They are not designed for those tasks.”.

 

But hammers are used for some pretty odd things.

 

Roofing hammers actually look more like hatchets than claw hammers. At least on the “Claw” end.

It is possible some genius got tired of being told they were using the claw inappropriately and invented a better claw to do the job. Or it may have happened some other way.

Doesn’t matter. Point made.

 

Ball Pein hammers have an entirely different use. It is normally used to beat metal into shape. Auto body repair people rely on them extensively.

 

Logically this makes a Ball Pein hammer one thing and a Claw Hammer another, entirely different thing.

 

This is in fact surface structure. Using surface structure, in the form of Logic, we can deny there is any similarity between the two at all. A proponent of surface structure, stated as logic, will tell you, “A claw hammer is a claw hammer and a ball pein hammer is a ball pein hammer. Two entirely different things. They are used in two different ways to accomplish two different functions.”

Logical necessity forces us to agree.

A more linguistically centered approach would recognize that on a deeper level of thinking we understand that both objects are in fact the same in some way. They are both hammers, as their name implies.

 

The innate Fallacy of Logic is its assumption that extreme Surface Structural Thinking™ is The Superior way to reason.

It is in fact inferior.

The innate Fallacy of Linguistics is its assumption that Surface Structural Thinking™ is The Natural Way to Think and that Deep Structural Thinking™ is some complex function of the inner mind that must somehow be unraveled.

It is in fact simple and natural, but it is suppressed.

 

The next blog will introduce you to yet more hammers, and the opportunity to expand your map.

 

 

©2014, all rights reserved

 

 

 

 

Understanding the Concept Line™

25 Nov

When you discuss logic, in any form, you discuss words, definitions, and meanings. In logic the first thing you HAVE to do if you are going to have a meaningful discussion is to define your terms. That is to make sure everyone involved in the discussion knows, or believes they know, exactly what they are talking about.

On the other hand when you discuss Mapological™ thinking, you must concentrate, not on words, but on the concepts involved.

Thus the concept line™.

Therefore the first term we must determine, and agree on, is What a Concept is. And what relationship it has to words, definitions, meanings, and ideas.

I shall do this by tackling what is considered a major Philosophical / Theological issue. There are three aspects of this journey we are taking: What is Evil? Why does Evil exist? Is Evil necessary?

But before we discuss such a “lofty” concept let us set some ground rules by tackling a very mundane concept.

One there can be no doubt about. A hammer. You can look at a hammer. Touch a hammer. Hold a hammer. Swing a hammer. Smell a hammer. You can taste a hammer if you like. I would recommend cleaning it thoroughly first.

Few things can be considered more mundane than a hammer.

As a word it is very specific. It has a head, usually made of metal, attached at right angles to a handle, often made of wood. It is most often used to pound nails into wood with.

The word hammer is a concrete noun.

Evil, on the other hand is an abstract noun.

While you may be able to point to examples of it that every human being will agree is Evil, you will never be able to put it in your tool belt and carry it to the job site with you.

Thus the next blog will begin our exploration of Evil by looking at the lowly, totally innocent hammer.

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