Still thinking about Models. Thinking about what all Models seem to have in common.
It appears to me that Hard Models, those Engineering Models and Physics Models, which keep literally everything we depend on to stay alive and more or less healthy running smoothly, are based on a tangible reality, a measurable reality.
All those Grey Tribe models which the majority of folks take totally for granted and never think about, are mostly based on provable facts, and, or, theories based on facts.
Striking similarities between all Hard Models are that they can be used predictively, in fact their utility increases if they are found to be highly predictive and they are all replicable by any number of independent engineers and scientists.
One of the striking aspects of Soft Models, Pink Tribe Models, is the striking lack of anything real or absolutely quantifiable shown in those models. The fudge-factor in Soft Models is huge.
A good site to have a quick look at what I am talking about here is the Semantic Scholar site and the article here. All the Soft Models have this in common, that they exclusively model “ideas”, they are rooted in “Ideology”. Soft Models may make use of real world objects or observed phenomena but only in the sense that they “need” some reference to reality by analogy to give a patina of reality to their ideology.
In the world of Soft Models, Pink Tribe models, are all about how we would like things to line up with the “desirable” outcome.
Even in the Soft Model world of pseudo-science like political “science” and social “science”, even there, they at least give lip service to these characteristics of predicative value and replication of models.
Of interest, aside from my purpose here, on the same site are several articles like “3 Secrets to Outsmarting a Narcissist“, and “It Takes Just One Question to Identify Narcissism“, and “14 Thought-Control Tactics Narcissists Use to Confuse and Dominate You“.
Just remembered something, back in 2014 when I started blogging, what tipped me over the edge into writing about my experiences was the reality of dealing with Narcissists. Wow, I am coming up to four years blogging. That’s over a million words since 2014, self centered words flowing from my own model. My own Narcissism. This change of focus is what I was aiming for when I started writing.
I was pretty angry at the time and started writing about things, here, and here, and here, and here, as a kind of self help therapy. I wanted to have some sort of narrative available to which I could refer back when the reality of my experience was re-written by others.
After all, it is not only history which is re-written to cover up the past. Individuals do it every day in their thinking about what happened and how it reflects on their conduct. Freud probably would have had something to say about my hidden motives.
Anyway, the point of this is to illustrate the degree of self love apparent in the kinds of models we make use of to interact with our world, our “reality”. Hard Models tend to have more “real” stuff and significantly lower “self-love” factors. Soft Models tend to have significantly less “real” stuff, and significantly higher levels of the “self-love” factor.
Models rooted in empirical facts and measurable hard data tend to be less about the brilliance of the modeler and more about the real world item being modeled.
Models rooted in Ideology and self referenced opinion of individuals or groups tend to be more about the brilliance of the modeler(s) and less about reality on the ground.
At the foundational level, all this is really about metaphysics and spiritual truths.
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the essence of a thing. This includes questions of being, becoming, existence, and reality. The word “metaphysics” comes from the Greek words that literally mean “beyond nature”.
“Nature” in this sense refers to the nature of a thing, such as its cause and purpose. Metaphysics then studies questions of a thing beyond or above questions of its nature, in particular its essence or its qualities of being.
Now, we “Brights” of our sophisticated modern age, have a way of cluttering up the landscape of thought with ever finer divisions and subdivisions and categories of things.
We do this until the origins of whatever we are discussing are completely obscured in generations worth of Erudite Academic Bafflegab.
For example, we have philosophical periods, thus Ancient, Medieval, Modern, and Contemporary.
And within these periods we, as a culture, classify Philosophers somewhat along these lines: Aestheticians, Epistemologists, Ethicists, Logicians, Metaphysicians, and then there are the Social and Political philosophers, the “Johnny-Come-Latelies” of philosophical history, riding on the authoritative coat-tails of the giants who went before, mostly wrapped up in debating and implementing various Pink Tribe Models for government, that serve various sociological agendas and programs amongst various elites in our Progressive polite society.
And to further obfuscate Truth, all these philosophers toil away within an array of “Traditions”. We have split up philosophy into many, sometimes rather arbitrary “Traditions”, such as African, Analytic, Aristotelian, Buddhist, Chinese, Christian, Continental, Existentialism, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Pragmatism, Eastern, Islamic, Platonic, and Western.
BUT … Its really a LOT simpler than all that.
The reality of all these “traditions”, this detailed taxonomy of thought, comes down to only four basic “Models”. Those models are worldviews at their most basic level. The Four Models, the four major global worldviews are Material Naturalism, Secular humanism, Pantheism and Monotheism, represented by Judeo-Christianity.
Now this is all about our Models, and about whether our Models best reflect reality or something else. I am going to quote from a book by Mary Poplin, “Is Reality Secular” because she does such a good job of setting this all out clearly and concisely. Here is her explanation of the four Models:
“Material naturalism is the belief that all that exists in the world is ultimately reducible to material phenomena. From this perspective, Mother Teresa was just a unique bundle of brain chemistry with particular psychoneural processes acting predictably, prompting her to do what she did.
Secular humanism is the belief that human beings are alone in the world and must act responsibly by forming their ethics solely from their human experience, human reason and science. From this perspective, Mother Teresa simply decided who she wanted to be and what she wanted to do and garnered the fortitude, determination and self-discipline necessary to do good works.
Pantheism is the belief that everything in the universe is a manifestation of a universal spirit. From the perspective of this nonsecular worldview, Mother Teresa might be interpreted as a more highly enlightened or reincarnated soul who had a strong spiritual connection to the divine spirit inside all of nature, including human nature.
And then there is Monotheism, (and as some of us might know,) this is the belief that there is a transcendent personal God, external to us, living and acting in the world, as well as in and through us.
In this worldview, the fact that Jesus appeared to Mother Teresa in three visions and asked her to do precisely what she did when she left the safe cloister of the Loreto convent, is an admissible fact. Within the orthodox principles of the Judeo-Christian worldview her visions of Christ and obedience to his request are wholly credible.
For the other three world views, the other three Models, the visions and interactions experienced by Mother Teresa simply cannot be considered an admissible fact. It isn’t plausible through the lenses of the secular worldviews. It isn’t part of the Western secular plausibility structure (the set of meanings in a culture that qualify as being possible).
Even Westernized Christians often find her visions incredible, acceptable only if interpreted as a personal psychological state, not as a reality. Now there are five characteristics of all four worldviews.
First and most consequential, all worldviews begin with faith, a metaphysical belief that cannot be verified using scientific methods. Robert Bellah points out that the Latin word for faith, “fides”, is more akin to the English term for trust rather than belief.
Though these faith statements can be argued philosophically, and from evidence we can inductively and deductively hypothesize, none can be proven empirically through scientific methods, including material naturalism. Every worldview begins with faith in something empirically or scientifically unknowable.
Second, every non-Christian worldview holds within it some principles of the Judeo-Christian worldview. Thus there is an overlap between principles of Judeo-Christianity and those of material naturalism, secular humanism and pantheism.
Third, there are also principles held by each of these three worldviews that lie outside of the Judeo-Christian worldview, such as the material-naturalist belief that everything that exists is ultimately a material or natural phenomenon. From a Judeo-Christian standpoint, these principles would be considered errors of commission.
Fourth, there are principles of Judeo-Christianity that lie outside the purview of believers in these other three worldviews. The absence of these principles in other worldviews would be considered by Christians as errors of omission.
Finally, none of these worldviews is more progressive or modern than the other. They have all existed ever since recorded history. The only real question is, are one or more of these an adequate description of reality?”
Mary Poplin, “Is Reality Secular?: Testing the Assumptions of Four Global Worldviews” (Veritas Books) (pp. 28 – 31). InterVarsity Press.
At the end of this it all comes down to personal spiritual values. and I am going to end this with a quote from a saint in my Monotheistic worldview, St. Mary Magdalen die Pazzi, (April 2, 1566 – May 25, 1607), a Carmelite Mystic, thus:
“What then, O my God, deprives the soul of Your Spirit? It is perverse self-love, the source and origin of every sin. Alas, I well see that the world remains wholly submerged and drowned in self-love! Some persons are sunk in it by their intellect, some by their memory, some by their will, and some, with their whole soul, submerge themselves in it. What is most displeasing to You, O God, is that this perverse self-love dwells even in Your Priests and in Your (Religious). The disorder of our self-love, of our attachment to our own will is no small thing. It does not require mountains of enormous sins to block the course of this rapid stream, this ocean of love; the sands of our defects, which we think trivial, but which are not, suffice to do so.” (St. Mary Magdalen die Pazzi,)
It really is all about our Models and Self-Love. When one gives it some thought it becomes clear that virtually every evil which we experience in these enlightened times is the direct result of self-love.