Mental models as filters? LO13030

Sherri Malouf (
Wed, 26 Mar 1997 16:43:54 -0500 (EST)

Replying to LO13012 --

Replying to LO13012 --
Phil Ferneau stated:

>Steve's recent post recalls Deming's oft-repeated observation -- "all
>models are wrong, some models are useful." All models are "wrong" to the
>extent they necessarily are incomplete representations of reality. But
>some models, those that help us understand reality better, are useful.

and then a lot of good stuff...

>The bottom line is that the quality of a mental model depends on the
>quality of the thinking that went into it.

I got to thinking about this list and my contributions to it. A lot of my
focus has been to look at our mental models and understanding what we need
to change. Many have talked about us needing to think differently but we
can't use the current way we think to think differently -- so it is a
catch 22.

I said in another thread that I agree with what Maturana has been saying
but I don't have a scientific background so my ideas aren't valued as

I got to thinking after reading Phil's contribution and one from At that
we don't value intuition -- that it does not have a credible place in our
way of judging the validity of a mental model. So for example, I read a
little bit of Maturana and I intuit that I am in agreement without having
to understand and follow all of the complexity. At wrote about his
process of understanding -- it is very different from mine. His would
have more credibility than mine.

I don't think I am the only one who encounters ridicule around intuitive
intelligence. How much do we reject because of the questionable "quality
of the thinking that went into it". It seems to me that we judge quality
in a scientific way. We derive comfort from something being stable, true,
proven. But doesn't change involve discomfort, fear, and risk? Doesn't
it mean that we have to possibly give up the need for scientific rigor in
everything? It still supports us in some very valuable ways -- but it is
not the be all end all.

I know we need mental models to operate day-to-day. But I don't know what
reality is and I don't need to know. Every aspect of my life is full of
ambiguity, risk, and unknowns -- I don't care anymore. The only thing I
can control are my own reactions to whatever the reality of the day is --
and sometimes I don't succeed at that! Things have happened to me which
defy our conventional definition about reality -- so what's the big deal
with Maturana is what I think!

I do go back to Maturana around humaness and love -- that is my comfort,
my stability, what is true. My two and a half year old son tells me many
days during our morning snuggle that he loves me... That's the easy part
about love and acceptance. The hard part is at work when a client calls
me a liar which totally offends my sense of self as an honest person, or
on the road as I am driving and someone does something stupid and
dangerous, or when my husband does something I react to, or the list can
go on and on.

The mental model which is most useful to me and is the one which guides my
actions and choices is the one of unconditional love and acceptance.
Issues of can I fall through the floor if I give up my mental model about
the reality or dimension we call floors -- you know what -- I don't care.
The floor is useful to me right now at the stage of development where I
find myself and deliberate decisions I have made. I took a course twenty
years ago from the Monroe Insitutute who taught astral projection and I
left my body and wandered around going through walls and floors. So what.
I decided very deliberately that I did not want to do that because I am in
my body for a reason. But here's the catch... What if I develop to a
point where the energy and entropy production in my body, mind, and spirit
is so fine tuned that I can achieve things which defy our definition of
reality? You can bet your butt I would keep it quiet because the end
result would be scientific scrutiny -- YUCK!!!

So use whatever mental model is needed in the circumstance -- meet people
and accept them where they are -- only then can change happen...

Sherri Tel:603-672-0355
LMA, Inc Fax:603-673-7120

-- (Sherri Malouf)

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