The surprise guest of WC 22 was none other than Alfred Korzybski. He probably was the most surprised of us all because "The Count" has been dead since 1950! Well despite that handicap, he made his presence felt as we explored the various maps the Snowflakes use to navigate the terrain of the fields we work in. The issue that became clear right away is the one of biggest unexplored issues with Chaos and Complexity Theory is that the simulations used to test them and the math behind those simulations had pushed the experimenter away from the context he/she was studying.
Once we had the visual aid of Korzybski's structural differential it got easier to make the distinction b/t the 'math' and the 'turbulence'. This helped us use our nonlinear tools when we had conflicts... Here's a few versions (hey, it's a map of a map of a...oh brother!) of the structual differential again.
Here's a nice non-linear one for the Skinner rats out there (inside WC 22 joke)...click the pic for more...
Here's the traditional one we used at the WC 22. It took awhile to make it come alive. Been dead awhile...I plucked this one from a neat little article of a predecessor of Korzybski; Rudolf Steiner.
This last one is just for clarification. It vivifies what we were experiencing in the room. Ryan Dearing, a student from Springfield College was there and this was all new to this stuff. He was the living example of this process...click the pic for a more neurophysiological explanation of how we can all use this in real life.
We did an impromptu version of the THISISNOTTHAT game from General Semantics every time we had some ditention (split attention) hit the room. It gave us a common enemy - language barriers. We were a little surprised how fast our walls came down & we found common ground & moved on.
*Click here for a closer look at the history and use of the structural differential.
All of this awareness helped us surmount the different lingo each Snowflake was discussing. When we were qualifying the Chilean tsnumani or the Malaysian plane as a Black Swan event we ended up noticing that even the word 'random' was another abstraction to address. The dexterity of the Snowflakes allowed us to leap back and forth from our vernacular of metaphors and 'mathy-math' terms so we could bounce from topics like happiness to non-duality to infinity to...when's lunch? ;)
Here's an aside for the Snowflakes who remember the heyday of CHAOPSYC...
“…each neuron can contain a memory in the form of the filter network of the dendrites."
"Since there is a wave bias in the dendrites (process data through Amplitude Modulation [see diagram of territory] so a memory can be stored in this 'field' by mapping interference patterns - IOW like a hologram or phase-space mapping. (A neuron axon is FM biased and as such the summing of frequencies in the dendrites of following neurons refines the filtering process, the memory, where the ability to map holograms/phase-space requires the processing of frequency data). Feedback processes can be refined through analytic logic, e.g. a sequence sensitive memory can be formed by a neuron in an XOR formation and feeding-back the output onto one of the inputs.(the 1:many/many:1 mappings we see in the brain reflect a qualitative bias precedes a quantitative bias and as such a dialectic processing precedes an analytic processing. Overall we experience reality 'in general' and then zoom-in for details. The dialectic mechanism reflects the irreversibility of the experience. The analytic mechanisms allow us to 'repeat'/reverse experiences 'in here' as well as improve precision).” - Chris Lofting
Someone please find that dude's material...he passed away in 2010 and a mountain of stuff he wrote vanished. I only have a few of his papers around. Unreal thinker. And you think I'm tough to understand...oofa! That EXO could burn your brain like a marshmallow and you'd thank him kindly!
When you really boil down how we go about abstracting, it resembles another 'historical' moment in the brain/behavorial conversation. You can almost superimpose the steps of the old T.O.T.E or TEST-OPERATE-TEST-EXIT algorithm from Miller, G.A., Galanter, E., & Pribram, K.H. (1960). Plans and the Structure of Behavior. Being able to 'catch yourself' in that second T is the key. Here's how.
For the loopy-minded Snowflakes, this 'map' may be a better 'useful fiction' to understand this.
Afternoon Session Projections...
The 'working lunch' was punctuated by a short viewing of the Dan Winter's video series on fractal compression. He pushed the group to the limits of their tolerance for cognitive dissonance as we saw a live demonstration of what it looks and sounds like when the maps are so mixed it's damn near impossible to see the terrain at all. I invite everyone to watch the other 7 segments (maybe one a month?) and use the structural differential to track when level Dan is on/off as he speaks...
The rest of the afternoon was spent applying our newfound communication tool to breakdown the two papers we were featuring at the WC 22. They 'represented' the two extremes of metaphor and math that compromise the maps us Snowflakes use to describe dynamical systems, especially the brain. It was amazing how fast we were able to see when both authors dipped into an intensional orientation as they wrote. If you read them again with that awareness it gets as 'plain as day'.
The last part of the WC 22 was a self-reflexive exercise where the Snowflake's mental flexibilty worked against us a bit. As we stated before the meeting, the group is evolving. How we grow is what is in question. That remained an open one as we ended the day. What I've done is design a Google+ page for the public to engage us in our ongoing discussions about the brain's dynamics. I've gotten the ball rolling but by no means do I intend to do it alone. I hope to have some of the many people who've reached out to us on Tw and my other contacts join us there soon. We'll see...
Note: One dangling string that is still left to determine besides where and when WC 23 will take place is HOW the WC will be constructed. I'll leave it out there that if we want to have an impact as a group a #brain focus in 2014+ is primary. If not, then the discussion will continue beyond my words.
I've attached an excerpt from a chapter of a book I never published (happens a lot sadly) that gives you a bridge between the world of nonlinear dynamics and abstracting using the structural differential. It's a good way to exit this conference and a great way to get ready for a whole year of talking about this on...*The Better Brain*...hope to cross paths with you there soon...