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.”