Scientific Thinking LO21921
Wed, 16 Jun 1999 09:56:51 EDT

Replying to LO21907 --

This is in response to one of many questions posed in a final paragraph by
Winfried in a recent contribution of 6/15.

The question was:

"What prevents us to detect wholeness as a gem?"

My contribution will atempt to answer Winfried's question and then to
suggest that another question might be of use to us all.

That question being:

What measurable steps can be applied in a business context to assist
individuals in achieving the goal of recognizing and utilizing the value
of this gem called "wholeness"?

Or in a more general application the question might be, " How do we
influence others to see the value something holds"?

In my lifetime I have posed a similar question to myself, it seems like
thousands of times, "why can't they see this". It has been one question
that has triggered much frustration in me and I have worked many times to
understand it.

For my own learning I will often employ humor to settle the emotions and
use analogies of concepts I have previously worked through to understand
questions that have a similar structure of information. I do this strategy
to create clarification in my mind. The goal being, emotional comfort and
intellectual development.

The mantra I use when addressing the question "what prevents us to detect
wholeness as a gem" comes from a book title, the book is dealing with
social linguistic differences between genders, "You Just Don't
Understand". This engenders, pun intended, many memories of my own silly
confusion when getting angry that someone of the opposite sex was using a
different style of communication. So when I get that frustrating feeling
of recognizing that some one else has a different model, I remember the
funny examples in the book and it reminds me that it is just about that --
we see things differently.

The book addresses the differences in "realities" between genders. Some of
the nuances that males and females have in thinking strategies and means
of conveying information. Where their mental worlds are constructed
differently and often not recognized accordingly, across gender, through
these "misperceptions".

My reasoning here will also tie into an old thought stream on the list of
"Mental Models".

What we see, be it recognizing the aspects of "Wholeness as a gem", or how
each gender might communicate differently, is based on our cognitive
strategies. How we have learned to think and express that thinking
process. That this thought stream of "Scientific thinking" is itself a
cognitive strategy and hence learned. As is the differences in gender
related communication patterns. The key word there is patterns, habits, or
strategies, which ever word best represents in the readers mind something
has been learned either consciously and/or unconsciously and expressed in
behavior without the awareness of it being just a model and not reality.

Getting to the meat of the matter regarding the question of ,"What
prevents us to detect wholeness as a gem". I will use a well studied
concept in social psychology and business marketing psychology of
"representative heuristic" to explain this process our minds go through.
The basics of the concept of representative heuristic are that people form
mental models of their world by what they "see" the most -- they then
unconsciously work from that model. This is one of the reasons why
repetition of television commercials happen. They want to "over expose"
the audience to the message. The marketers scientific reasoning being
that; through repetition a mental model is formed. Associations are formed
at an out of awareness level and begin to create this unconscious process
of forming a model. There are several areas of research that can validate
these findings.

What prevents us to detect wholeness as a gem is simple then to
understand. There are other models at work, unconsciously, that have this
representative heuristic value. People see separatist models more then
they see wholistic models. Individuals exposed repeatedly to separatist
models begin to think more along those lines. This is their world until
shown otherwise. We make sense in our world by what we pay attention to.
What we focus on. Therefore, if one model is far more available than
another it only makes common sense that people will unconsciously process
that more, or work effortfully to reject the old model and search for a
more productive alternative.

Think about it this way. How many inventions in the market place are still
fought against. People told Ford that nothing would replace the horse and
wagon. On a determental level, the silly prejudice and myths regarding
differences in people, or on the extreme contemporary example of ethnic
genocide. A financial example, no one believed that software could ever be
sold, try telling that now to the richest person in the US. All of the
above are people acting out unconsciously from their mental models.

In those aforementioned examples, do they appear to be well thought
through and reasoned responses, or are they unconscious responses to old
models that people are just reacting out of?

Connecting this now to the Scientific thinking aspects. The basis of the
Scientific Method is about creating a better model of reality. It is about
testing, observation, hypothesis construction, and invalidating "false"
models. The sceintific method is just the opposite cognitive strategy of
the representative heuristic. It is a conscious, thoughtful, effortful,
and an ongoing process. As compared to the representative heuristic which
is unconscious, effortless, mindless, and robotic.

It then follows that we must be willfully directed to learning something
beyond what our environment, the source of the representative heuristic,
has taught us, a breaking away from the social hypnosis.

That from the begining we have been trained even as males and females to
think differently. From the book "You Just Don't Understand" Deborah
Tannen writes..."Even if they grow up in the same neighborhood, on the
same block, or in the same house, girls and boys grow up in different
worlds of words. Others talk to them differently and expect and accept
different ways of talking from them". These representative heuristics
start early and begin to form our thinking, our mental models, even at the
identity level.

"What prevents us to detect wholeness as a gem?"

There are two parts to the answer of that question.

1) Wholeness is not the norm so people unconsciously learn otherwise,
social hypnosis.

2) The lack of motivation to expand ones mental models.

The fun aspect in consulting for me is the application of influencing
techniques to assist people in considering alternatives to their present
models, setting up in their minds alternatives and motivating them to
consider the alternatives. All of learning is an adjusting of mental

Resistance or rigidness of a listener is only a hallucination of a
limitation constructed within the communicator's model inregards to their
ability to connect and to influence.

Just some thoughts on the matter,


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In association with, this link... a book I highly recommend...

You Just Don't Understand by Deborah Tannen


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