Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Free Evaluation Comparator

Lets think about that influence thing again. What is it? How do I influence this world. Do I make things happen? If so how? Does my body do as I tell it to or does it react to my evaluation of it not doing what I want it to. This is that little feedback theory of mine rearing its cute little head again. Free will seems to defy the laws of physics but free evaluation seems to be quite consistent.

So lets assume that is the way it is. The entity that I call my conscious self is a complex comparator which has at its disposal a number of very complicated models of the universe, of other people, and of myself gradually built up over the course of a lifetime. The models are built up from our experiences and from the people we have known. With these models it can remember the past and predict and plan the future. These models when compared with actuality generate feedback that results in a disequilibrium. The body naturally moves to reestablish equilibrium. The comparator can also be run between memories and idealized models of the past for learning purposes. More feedback disequilibrium. It can also be run between plans and predictions, memories and plans, predictions and memories, and any of them to an ideal.

So to reestablish equilibrium something has to change. The body must move, the world must be moved, models must change, goals must shift, plans must reevaluate, memories must modify, or if all else fails the comparator itself must change. This makes me think of self testing integrated circuits. One difficulty in their implementation is the testing of the self test circuitry itself. I digress.

This seems to be a very useful arrangement similar to teacher and pupil, parent and child, or mentor and protege. At some point the learner must be trusted to learn on his own and be set free to possibly exceed the capabilities of the teacher. Do you trust yourself?

So teaching should be about teaching how to learn, not how to listen. Teaching how to listen is only taught by teachers who are afraid of becoming obsolete. They might just find that their pupils stop listening. Someone who does not listen and cannot learn is an ugly sight indeed. Teaching how to learn requires a gradual weaning to the point where in the end the teacher will say nothing at all.

So back to influence. My influence on myself is via evaluations. My evaluations should be respectful and evolve with time similar to those in a healthy parent-child relationship. The comparator itself and how it is used should be open for the possibility of change.

Remember that your evaluation process also has a lasting influence on the evaluation process of other living things. Just as your models and comparison system were and are built up from your experiences in this world so are theirs partially built up of their experiences of you. Respect that fact. It is a responsibility not to be taken lightly (which ironically is also a reminder to not be so serious). Encourage the ability to learn, in yourself and others, through good (in the platonic sense) evaluations. Share your learning process with the world, don't hide it. Present the real fallible you, not the fake perfect version you hold so dear.

So this seems to be saying that I need to let go of the reins. Gradually of course. In the end what will be left for me? If I am not my models, if I am not my comparisons, if I am not in control then what am I? How about an input to the comparator that represents the good, available when needed. Sounds like a fine place for some rest to me.

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