Re: virus: Level 3, Belief, and Utility
Mon, 28 Oct 1996 20:12:54 -0600 (CST)

On Mon, 28 Oct 1996, Reed Konsler wrote:

> >From: David McFadzean <>
> >Date: Wed, 23 Oct 1996 13:04:24 -0600
> >Here's an analogy I find useful: Say that objective reality is a
> >person and our model (theory, description, belief) about reality
> >is a portrait of that person. There is no end to the number of
> >different portraits that can be created: pencil sketch, oil painting,
> >bronze bust, chalk drawing, marble statue, photograph, short story,
> >X-ray picture, home video, artfully arranged vials of bodily fluids,
> >caricature, mug shot, JPEG, 3-D computer model, Myers-Briggs type,
> >etc., etc. They can be more or less accurate (an X-ray of the person
> >is certainly more accurate than a drawing of a totally different person)
> >and they can be more or less useful depending on the task at hand
> >(a mug shot is more useful than a painting if you want to find the
> >person, but a painting is more useful if you want to decorate your
> >house). But which portrait is the True one? I hope you can see how
> >the question doesn't even make sense, no matter how skillful and talented
> >the artist, no matter what materials are used, a portrait can never
> >become the portrayed. And the same is true of our models, beliefs
> >and theories.
> I like this analogy. Let's try to tie this into Brodie's memetics levels.
> ....


> ....
> Two things are difficult in this analysis. The first is that we are not in
> the habit of defining belief as something that is chosen. This would make
> it a kind of opinion, yes? In this context, belief could also be fluxional
> ("Well, I only belive in God on Sundays...I like the taste of communion
> wafers") and the common concept of belief incorporates some sense of
> consistency over time...or else why is being "born again" such a powerful
> analogy? We think of beliefs as static things which occupy a lot of brain
> space and are often mutually exclusive.

That seems to be an operational definition of belief: a relatively
time-stable opinion. Many people do NOT choose their opinions!


/ Towards the conversion of data into information....
/ Kenneth Boyd