Been re-reading GEB, and had some thoughts about it. I’m in the section about chunking, levels, grouping, and chess.
First thought: Hofstadter says that when chess masters look at a chess board, they have trained themselves to look only at possible moves. Further than that, they look only at beneficial
possible moves. I was considering this, and came up with an alternate chess rule:
-After every seven pieces taken from your opponent, you may move one piece any way you wish, only once, with the exception that you can’t checkmate the king. You may do that at any time after collecting the seven pieces
That way you do
have to play by the rules, but up to a point: There is always the possibility of a random action. This way, you are forced to think about all the impossible
moves, as well as the possible ones.
That was more of a side thought, though. The idea I wanted to bring up was from the section on “The Trade off between Chunking and Determinism” (pp 306 of the 1980 edition):
There is, however, perhaps one significant negative feature of a chunked model: it usually does not have exact predictive power. That is, we save ourselves from the impossible task of seeing people as a collection of quarks (or whatever is the lowest level) by using chunked models; but of course such models only give us probabilistic estimates of how other people feel, will react to what we say and do, and so on. In short, in using chunked high-level models, we sacrifice determinism for simplicity. Despite not being sure how people will react to a joke, we tell it with the expectation that they will do something such as laugh, or not laugh – rather than, say, climb the nearest flagpole (Zen masters might well do the latter!). A chunked model defines a “space” within which behavior is expected to fall, and specifies probabilities of its falling in different parts of that space.
What I was thinking is that it works both ways... That is, in a certain situation, we have “chunked” the possible behavior of others, eliminating the “impossible” or the “highly improbable”. In some instances, we may even eliminate the “unlikely” or the “probably not”! In most cases, this happens unconsciously, the lower levels of experience and expectation simply taking over. Unless we really pay attention, we don’t even see it happening.
But this same “chunking” also lurks in our own
behavior in situations. We have unconsciously eliminated certain behaviors and reactions from our possible choices, without even noticing. Through whatever ways our mind sets up (call it 8-Circuit, or Monkey Mind, or Jungian, or Dianetics, et al
), we have radically limited our behavior in how we react to certain situations, the limitations becoming less and less obvious the older the structures of our mind get. It takes a lot of effort to notice these “chunks,” and to act outside of them. Some people never do.
Please keep in mind that “outlandish” behavior can be chunked, too! That’s why some of these pinealists are so predictable, because even though their behavior might be outside the standard observer’s expectations, they are often fairly consistent in their outlandishness.
I’m sure you can easily see the BIP looming on the horizon, so I’ll leave that to y’all to draw connections. I would like to say, however, that in light of the above, one of the things that has drawn me to Erisianism is the way it attempts to avoid high-level chunking of models, if even just in a minor way. It seems to not only teach us to accept experiences that occur outside our “chunks” of others’ expected behavior (thus expanding the possibilities in our brain), but it also can teach us to examine our own
behaviors, and how we have automatically eliminated certain responses... Which again expands possibilities in our brain.