Intelligent Systems And Their Societies Walter Fritz

Mindscapes

 

Let's talk about this concept a little more than usual since it is so interesting. A mindscape is a way of thinking that affects all our thoughts. It is a strategy that guides the way we select our objectives and how we act to reach them. A mindscape is one or a collection of a few of the most general response rules we have. Magoroh Maruyama coined the word mindscape, to characterize certain general mental methods, but we use it here for all the most general response rules.

Individuals can be bold or timid, aggressive or cooperating; they may want richness or rather the esteem of others. They may like to follow a leader, or not. They obviously have different mindscapes. The various African tribes have quite different mindscapes, different ways of thinking. Eskimos think differently than Canadians. Men think differently than women; a person from Sicily thinks differently from one from Milan. Many of these differences are due to cultural mindscapes or "culturescapes," that are the result of having a majority of members of a society with similar mindscapes.

But what are the origins of these differing personal mindscapes? Not all persons live in the same environment, and the environment determines the concepts they can form.

For example, an Eskimo (of those that lived a hundred years ago), lived in an environment of snow and ice. He had many concepts about different types of ice and snow, and the corresponding words to express these concepts. On the other hand, he knew few birds, and had few words for them.

Likewise, an Argentine cowboy (of those that lived a hundred years ago) had as his environment grass, cows, birds and other objects. He had, at most, one word for ice and one for snow, but he had many for the different kinds of birds he saw. (Today both have radio, television, and other frequent regional or global communication opportunities; their mindscapes thus have tended to become more similar.)

Without doubt the physical environment affects the creation of concepts. The same is true of the formation of response rules. Those that are correct for the Arctic are incorrect for the Argentine grasslands and vice versa.

The society in which a person lives also influences concepts. Each person today has many contacts with the other members of its society through conversations, newspapers, books, radio and television. Individuals of the same society have, through these contacts, many second hand experiences in common, the same "culturescape".

We realize that each person had its own unique experiences and, because of this, has its own set of response rules and that they will be different from those of all other persons. For example, it seems reasonable that a medieval feudal lord, who had his material necessities assured, could put emphasis in his honor and try to obtain it through warrior competitions. His peasant serf, on the other hand, was more preoccupied with survival and the accumulation of food for difficult times than he was about his honor. Since they lived in different environments, their objectives and the response rules they needed to live were also different. It is probable that the character of the lord was aggressive; so that he could defend his estate and possibly win the estate of another. His peasant on the other hand, needed to be cooperative, be it to construct a house together with many neighbors, or for the mutual assistance in case of fire or if a stroke of bad luck affected one of them.

The experiences that a person had can determine if a person is bold or timid, according to which way of acting gave him better results in the past. This becomes apparent for a person who is temporally living in another society with very different response rules. He is often disoriented, because the person is not adapted to his new environment; he does not have adequate response rules for this new environment. The person is continually at odds, due to his manner of acting and believes that the way of acting of the members of the new society is wrong. The same is true when our own society changes too fast; our response rules are not adequate anymore, we feel "future shock".

As we have seen, during our life, starting with elementary concepts, we slowly build up higher level concepts (also called composite concepts), and at the same time higher level response rules. There is a hierarchy of response rules, from the most concrete, to the most abstract ones. These last include concepts of many levels of abstraction and composition, both in the situation as well as in the response. When the IS uses one of these most abstract response rules, it affects a very wide range of responses.

Finally, we can determine and classify these most abstract response rules that a person has and call them mindscapes.

For continuous reading, like a book - continue here.
Jump to the e-book Contents / A Scientific Philosophy / Persons as Intelligent Systems / top of this page.


Last Edited 14 Mayo 2013 / Walter Fritz
Copyright © New Horizons Press