Representational Models

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I’ve come to realize that, on my Quest for Thinking Mastery and operationalizing knowledge [<link; short read], mental models are key. They’ve become one of my primary interests and fields of study, and one of my favorite creative playgrounds.

I think in models [<link; medium read].
I collect models.
I organize and classify models.
I deconstruct and optimize models.
I create models.

Models are tools, they’re fundamentally practical.

One of their essential features is their transferability, which makes them usable in a wide variety of contexts. You could think of them as ‘multi-purpose tools’.

An important category of models I’ve identified is what I call representational-models.”

“What are representational-models?”

Representational-models are models used metaphorically to create and/or enrich mental representations.

Let’s take meditation for instance.

What does it make you think of?”

“Sitting in a certain position, focusing on the breath, that sort of thing.”

“So you’re mentally representing it in terms of the how of it. An activity you perform in a certain way. This is practically useful, but not particularly meaningful.

But let’s say you represent it in terms of the why of it:

Meditation as training for the mind

This forms a richer representation, which makes it more meaningful. And you don’t have to stop here:

Meditation as connection with yourself
Meditation as self-care

The more representations you ‘stack‘, the more meaningful it becomes. The more meaningful it is, the more likely you are to engage in it.

Training, connection and self-care here are representational-models.

An important type of representational-model is what I call metaphoric-models.”

“What are those?”

“Let’s take a beautiful quote by Plutarch as an example:

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be ignited.

This is a metaphor. The mind is compared to a fire.

Fire – the heart of the metaphor – is a metaphoric-model with huge transferability.

I call the process of artfully creating and/or enriching mental representations ‘reality painting’.

You’re beautifying the landscape of your inner-reality. For me, this is an important component of the Art of (Playful) Living.”

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About Dani Trusca

Life-Artist, Thinker, Mover (Traceur)

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