Mental models as filters? LO13041

Winfried Dressler (
Thu, 27 Mar 1997 20:20:02 +0100

I am not really answering to someone special of you. I just found that
these topics are of some interest for some of you. So let me share my view
with you.

0.) About filters and reality

Filters are no mental models, they help to sort the inputs into the system
"man", so they help creating mental models. In the vast majority, these
filters are essential to recognise constant patterns in the world
"outside". And these filters are very useful in selecting important

For example: The skin does not measure the temperature. No interest for
junk. Vital is the heat-flow from surrounding to the body (warm to hot)
and from the body to the surrounding (cool to cold), which is measured
very accurately (just take a cold piece of metal in one hand and a piece
of wood of the same temperature in the other hand).

Other example: The eyes (or the "computer" behind) don't see colors in a
physical sense (energy of photons). Again, no interest in figures which
may easily be measured in a laboratory but which are irrelevant in
recognising reality outside. Instead an object must be recognisable as the
same one independent from light conditions at the moment (cloudy, sunny,
dawn, noon...). All the "paradox" effects of seeing colored shadows when
only white light is there comes from this vital requirement. This proves
not only that there is reality, but even more, that we have quite accurate
access to it.

1.) Models about "Truth"

In a scientific/systemic approach, one build up a model of some parts of
reality and tries to find out whether it works or not, i.e. whether it
discribes reality properly. For discribing the physical world, the word
"Truth" can be used: a correct model is not subject to changes (although
broader contexts can be found in which the model is understood as an
approximation - Newtonian mechanics in the context of quantummechanics for
example). The reality discribed in the model is completely "outside".

2.) Models about "Moralty"

Mental models of social interactions - organisations and their environment
- are not only representations of a given reality. These mental models can
be designed, and by designing them, an interaction between model and
reality is induced. In fact, any building of an organisation is a
contribution to shaping this social reality. It is half "inside" and half
"outside". "Moralty" replaces "Truth".

Therefore my theorem of the "Coevolution of Mental Model and Social
Reality": Main purpose of mental models is to shape or even create
reality. It is a vital function of internal information processing to
provide these models with accurate feedback from current reality

3.) Models about "Aesthetics"

My model about myself. The reality discribed is completely "inside". It
develops continuously while living my life. Some people try to support
this by thinking about "Personal Mission Statements". Target is the mystic
cognition "All is one". This is, where the model is no model anymore, it
is the one eternal reality. On our way, we are feeded by "Truth"- and
"Moralty"-feedback from an "outside"-reality, which, in the end, is
nothing but helpful illusion to find our way.

Winfried Dressler


Winfried Dressler <>

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