Thursday, July 13, 2006

Externalization

The spiritual need of externalization represents an interesting contrast (and similarity) to the need of visibility (written about elsewhere).

But first things first. What is externalization? Simply put: it's expressing oneself, in one form or the other. So the need for externalization is then the need for an expression of mental content.

But how can that need be explained? What is it we get out of expression things? Certainly what I have in mind isn't practical values such as, say, the need to tell someone you love her to let her know so that she can decide whether she feels the same. Now, that's a reason to express oneself too, but that aspect isn't an example of satisfying the need for externalization.

Rather, I think the reason is the same as with visibility (and the need for art). That which only exists in our mind isn't completely real to us. We don't fully experience it until there is some physical expression of it. And this is something that is very central to everyone's life. Every spoken and written word is a physical expression of something, as is how you decorate your home and a million other things (needless to say, a specific form of expression may not interest a given person. We all have our own priorities in regard to what to express and how and when, and so on.)

It's central and broad, but not everything can be said to be externalization. For example, consuming art or trying to understand something (by thinking) is not examples of it.

Both visibility and externalization are central in proper human relationships, and that's a big part of why the relationships are so valuable and irreplaceable. Although, while visibility is heavily dependent on human relations, externalization can be exercised without it (though some content of the mind is easier to express in interaction with someone)

If that which you express isn't really you but a faked you, you won't satisfy the need to externalization, and likewise you won't get the right things back from others. They won't mirror you. So you'll leave both those needs unfulfilled. That's one reason why it is so stupid and painful to be a criminal - you can never be open with decent people, because they will despise you. You will either have to lie massively, or spend time with other criminals. Two very unattractive options.

A large part of all human activity can be explained in terms of visibility and externalization.

Interesting integrations can be made to creating art, which happens to be externalization per excellence.

Friday, July 07, 2006

UML

Been doing some UML lately, for a course. Interesting stuff. An UML designer is to the implementer (programmer) what an architect is to a construction worker.

What's interesting is that you get a better understanding of the to-be system even without creating any diagrams, just by learning and using the different views. The specific diagrams are irrelevant. You could have had the exact same views (use case, class, state, etc) but (somewhat) different looking diagrams.

One idea that I find interesting and fascinating is to create a similar system to deal with humans and human relations. Not so much as an architect trying to build something (though some things perhaps, like a good relationship?), but for understanding (which affects your actions). It should be possible to create similar theoretical models of humans and relations, a set of different views with corresponding diagrams. Where each view in some way helps you understand a person and/or relationship. I'm sure there are some attempts in that direction being made, but I'm also pretty sure that it's not very well done. In a more rational world, there would be well developed systems like that and we would all run around diagramming each other.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Conceptualization

No two games of chess are the same. The first moves may be the same, but for each new move fewer identical games have been played, and eventually each game is unique (with the exception of short games between bad players). Yet, despite that all games are different the principles describing the games are the same. So despite the uniqueness of each game, to an experienced player much is familiar and similar to other games. Principles such as "open lines" and "control of the center" etc always applies (though in different degrees depending on the details of each game). And there are not that many principles either. I think it was Kotov and Keres that suggested that to understand a position, four different areas need to be considered (that is, four principles, each containing a few sub-principles).

The same is true for all human areas, whether you are trying to understand how to act, how to think, how a government should be governed, how to explain star systems or our own biology, and so on. Without principles there is no such thing as understanding.

Humans understand the world by conceptualizing it, and principles are the result of that process. (Note to self: is applying principles also best described as an act of conceptualization?) .

The world is immensely complex, and without principles we are completely lost in that complexity. Some old (and young) fools claim that for a theory to be really true, it has to "mirror" the complexity of reality, and be as complex itself. That's just stupid. The exact opposite should be the goal: to let as few principles as possible explain as much as possible. For example, the principle (or law) or gravity explains both falling apples and planets rotation the sun. One single principle explains an infinite amount of complex stuff in the universe. Imagine trying to understand all those things that gravity explains through a theory that "mirrored" the complexity of that which it is trying to explain (which I assume would a mean a unique theory for each unique object - and every single object in the universe in unique, no two things are identical -, instead of the same principle/theory/law explaining an endless series of different objects).

All areas in life should be conceptualized. Hey, a principle.

In my current wave of extroversion and interest in politics (especially some areas) I see a lot of lack of principles. The conclusions people (including politicians and journalists) come to and the decisions they make are completely irrational.
 
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