Model-based thinking

As those of you who attended the 2006 pre-conference workshop that Allan Combs and I led may recall, I have some reservations about the field of Systems Thinking (Systems Science). They have to do with the implicit assumption that the embodied reality of our experience can be modeled, and that meaningful knowledge will come from manipulating or working with such models. I’m not so sure.

I came across a related caveat in an article in the September 2006 Harpers, about education and video games. The topic for the forum was how to use video games to further education. Here is the exchange that interested me, and on which I would welcome comment:

Zengotita: I see how students could learn to write analytically, deeply, about the systems of rules that are embedded in video games, rules that appear in the game to be the way the world actually works. But when the players go out into the real world, I think there’s a real danger . . . of failing to understand not just the complexity of the real world but also its mystery . . .

Koster: I call it gamist thinking, and I strongly agree with you . . . To bring solely a gamist perspective to the world is a really big mistake. But of course this perspective predates video games. It harkens back to behaviorist psychology, and a variety of unsavory political movements as well.

Zengotita: It’s systems-based thinking, model-based thinking. I can’t claim that Donald Rumsfeld or Robert McNamara were products of a video-game education. But they show all the symptoms of it.

This entry was posted in blog home, uncatagorized, knowledge, systems, vision. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Model-based thinking

  1. Dallas Simpson says:

    The base theory of this important point is dimension theory and the enshrining principle is that of ‘expressed and unexpressed potentialities’.

    Game rules define a state space with a rigid boundary within which only potentialities fitting the rules of the game can be expressed, all other potentialities are excluded.

    So setting ‘rules’ as ethical, moral and spiritual outcomes that are wholly desirable and honourable, that is, as desirable abstract entities, ensures that the potentialities expressed as unique distinctions in all fields of human endeavour carry that ethical value set as the boundary condition into each and every actual activity.

    Ever advancing civilisations are built on spiritual / ethical / moral foundations. Science, technology, and economic systems must be subservient to the higher values for peace and security to be universal. Quality of our physical environment should not be confused with quality of life.

    Such considerations imply the evolution of a ‘spiritual economy’, where all human activity is measured in value according to the individual, social, spiritual, ethical and moral justice arising from it.

    Such a value set serves to enhance the dignity of our station as human beings, rather than induce behaviour considerably lower than the animal.

    At the epicentre of such a system is the principle of Unity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *