Tag Archives: Map Thinking(tm)

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.

 

 

 
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Extending the Concept of Hammers

16 Feb

Hopefully now we are at a point where we can see the world as an interconnected, conceptual map, that we can navigate from point to point. Not simply in a simple line from, say black to white, with lots of  shades of greys and grays in between, but closer akin to a map of say a state.

The map of a state will show large towns, the capital, small towns, country sides, forests, and roads leading from one place to another.

So let us try this with hammers.

The capital would be the claw hammer, the most common kind.

A claw hammer has a handle to hold onto, a head that, in most cases bats the head of a nail, forcing the nail into a piece of wood. This most often joins two pieces of wood together.

Fully concepting this idea of a hammer as an item with a handle to be held and a head that does work we can conceive of an axe as an anti-hammer that splits the wood apart. It is still a hammer, it is an axe hammer, and it normally does the opposite of what a hammer normally does.

Interestingly grammar, as well as Aristotlean Logic, make it difficult for people to make the connection between the two.

Example: You can hammer with a hammer, but you can’t axe with an axe. You have to chop with an axe, even though you can turn a single-headed axe over and use it as a sledge-hammer.

This insistence that words must be used in certain ways because “you can’t” hammer with an axe or chop with a hammer, and “you have to” say it right or you are stupid, ignorant, or…Forces people into rigid reasoning patterns that reflect the either/or approach of logic.

Humans have hands at the ends of their arms and feet at the ends of their legs. Animals have paws, or hooves, — And Grammar Gurus actually talk as though humans DO have arms and hands and feet and animals actually DO have paws or hooves, or whatever.

And they don’t.

Humans have appendages we have names for.

Animals have appendages we have names for.

The reason they are so different is not so much because of biology but because of The Human Superiority Complex. Many humans feel they are too good to have paws and animals are not worthy to have feet. What save many humans from going into severe emotional trauma over monkeys, apes, etc is their lack of opposable thumbs — “Ah,” these people say, “Humanity is saved. It is still the superior species and is grammatically entitled to hands whilst those poor beasts have to survive with mere paws.”

This is fine for those who are Grammatically, and perhaps Logically, Pure, but a Map Thinker™ must grapple with the reality that hands, feet, paws, and hooves, are all both conceptually the same at one end of the concept line and conceptually different at the other end.

While it is not conceptually valid to speak of a horse swatting at an annoying dog with its hand, it is conceptually valid to say it swatted at the dog with its foot.

While it is normally not conceptually valid to say “My son grasped his glass of milk with his hoof”, it is conceptually valid to say “My son pranced in from the backyard on all four hooves neighing at me in convincing horseness.” Once it is established the child has been horsing around it would be both conceptually valid and humorous to say “He sat at the breakfast table and grasped his glass of milk with his hoof.”

As you can easily see  Conceptually Based Grammar™ would be far different from our currently Logically Based form of Grammar. For one thing it would have to be far less prescriptive and far more fluid, that is, creative. It would also be accommodating to humor as a natural consequence of Conceptually Based Grammar™ rather than an aberration from Logically Based Grammar.

By now we all should be able to see that by discarding Logic and Logically Based Grammar and adopting Conceptually Based Reasoning™ and Conceptually Based Grammar™ which are both necessary to Map Thinking™ we can easily see that our Individual Creative Potential increases exponentially.

This is done by the simple expedient of discarding the two most standard limits to our everyday thinking.

I’m going to let this blog chapter rest here.

What I want you to do is to take a week, or at least a day, and see just how far, and in what directions you can extend the concept of “Hammer” for yourself.

Hopefully you will do a better job than I.

© 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.

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