Believing and Acting Beings

I updated the sketch from last week’s post so that it now looks like the sketch on the right (click on it to make it larger).

Decision Cycle, Rev. 2
Decision Cycle, Rev. 2

Here are the changes…

  • I replaced physics with reality in an attempt to be a little less obtuse.
  • I also added “(Expectations)” to Beliefs. They are essentially the same things. This also gives me a place to hang The Stress Equation when combined with Reality/Physics.
  • I changed the line from Facts to “modify”. Facts modify Reality/Physics. This seemed to be a bit richer way of thinking about how facts relate to reality.
  • I added “(Issues)” to Opportunities in order to cover all the circumstantial reasons for decision. the distinction between the two is worth some deeper exploration at some point. In the meantime, read The Obstacle is the Way, by Ryan Holiday.
  • Finally, I fixed the directions of the feedback loop arrows so they point in the right directions1.

This sketch is only the barest outline of a framework for thinking, but there are some interesting observations that can be made. For example, the Natural Systems Loop is the universe without Thinking and Acting Beings. Note that I changed the title of this post to “Believing and Acting Beings”. Thinking is the process of forming beliefs. Beliefs are exposed by adaptive reactions to facts. All higher animals at least exhibit learning. Learning is an adaptive reaction to facts. This leads to the conclusion that all higher animals have beliefs. From this, I’ve formed the belief that while human belief systems are certainly extremely complex, at our core we’re no different than any other animal that learns.

Your milage may vary. If so, I’d love to hear about it.


Thinking and Acting Beings

I’ve pondering the following sketch today…

The boxes are nouns, the lines are verbs. There are three feedback loops. The “natural systems” loop is the only one that would exist if there were no sentient beings capable of affecting the universe. Decisions anchor the role of rational and sentient beings via the perceptual and behavioral loops. A good way to misread this sketch is to believe that it shows how perception and behaviour are outside of nature when they are actually just more detail. There are a lot of more detailed systems in the natural loop. There’s probably a better way to capture this relationship.

Decisions are what couple perceptions and behavior. Decisions require both an opportunity and a set of beliefs before they can enable an action. Beliefs are formed by exposure to facts. Here you think about facts in a fairly strict sense. It may be a fact that someone told you something that they asserted is a fact. The fact that they asserted may not have actually been a fact, but the person asserting that it is a fact is a fact. (Sigh, language is so hard.) You end up with a notion of directly experienced facts, e.g. what I heard someone say, and reported facts, e.g. what they said. There’s an 80/20 possibility here where 80 percent of your belief system is based on reported facts and 20 percent is based on direct experience. I don’t know if this is true, but it’s an interesting hypothesis.

A future ponder many be to examine the process (verb) of how facts inform beliefs.