Noticing for “Signals In The System” … and Missing The Elusive Obvious
Start here …
Imagine a large moth with brown, black and orange markings settled on the riser of a staircase of a hotel that’s been carpeted with a worn rug with a similar brown, black and orange pattern, in London, England on a beautiful cool, sunny, early autumn day.
So it began …
Now add in about two hundred people walking up that staircase in broad daylight … all passing literally over that moth without noticing.
Including the world-renowned trainer who is leading a program in Pattern Recognition …
This is the state that the majority of the world lives in … seeing only what they expect to see, where they expect to see it and doing what they expect it will be doing, e.g.: a rug carpeting a staircase, NOT a moth resting on a riser of that staircase in a hotel.
Now imagine how much is there before us that remains unnoticed …
Exposing The Pattern That Connects …
This is how I left a program entitled Pattern Recognition with a world renowned trainer of NLP that I was attending in the U.K. a number of years ago … by noticing the pattern that was elusive …
We were on a break during the first day of a two-day program I had flown out to the U.K. to attend. We spent the morning covering the idea of patterns and pattern recognition. The session was full of definitions, explanations and exercises to refocus our attention on the idea of pattern, and how pattern is swirling around us constantly in the midst of our lives.
We broke for lunch and returned to a co-presenter who began by framing a story she was going to tell us, which led into a vocal presentation delivered on a tape recorder she had brought with her … very elementary school pedantic and whilst intending to be metaphorical and complex, was fundamentally linear and flat. I began questioning what was going on around me at a deeper level then.
After the presentation by the female co-trainer we again broke for a short break. All two hundred or so participants filed out of the room we were in, down the staircase and gathered in the lobby or just outside the venue in a small patio courtyard in front of the hotel surrounded by a half meter high wall. I was just outside the wall on the sidewalk, enjoying the afternoon sun and a chat with another participant when we were called back.
When I got to the lobby I went to grab a drink and by the time I was ready to move the staircase was loaded with the other participants returning to the room where the training was taking place. I chose to wait until everyone had made their way up the staircase to make my way back to the training room. That’s when I saw it. There on the fourth riser up from the bottom of the staircase. A large moth, probably about 5 or 6 centimeters across was simply resting on the riser face, blended into the background of the rug carpeting the stairs.
The two hundred or so participants … and the two trainers … in the Pattern Recognition program had walked over this magnificent moth without so much as a scant awareness of it’s presence. To me it was the entire program defined in bold relief.
I passed it over after looking at it for a few more moments, admiring the complexity of the patterning on it’s wings, and the brilliance of it’s camouflage. I went back to the room, directly up to the world renowned trainer running the program … who hadn’t yet begun again … and told him, “Come with me for a second there’s something I think you’ll want to see that defines what I think we’re doing.” He followed be back out of the room, down the base of the stairs where I turned him around pointing towards the stairs we’d just walked down together, and asked him, “What do you see?” He said “Nothing.” meaning just the stairs I guess, not that he had gone blind for the moment or closed his eyes.
I pointed more specifically to the riser with the moth on it and asked again,”There, what do you see on the riser?” And again he said, “Nothing.” So I pointed directly to the moth and said, “Look … it’s a moth.” at which he started and realized what I was pointing at for the first time. I said, “Don’t you think it’s interesting that there are about two hundred people attending a Pattern Recognition training and none of them notice what’s right before them entrained in the pattern they are walking?” He just looked at me, reached down and lifted the moth from the riser and walked it outside.
When we were outside it was clear to me that the moth was lethargic and I attributed it to the chill of the autumn day when this event took place. The trainer placed the moth on the top of the wall surrounding the patio courtyard in front of the hotel, and turned to walk back up the stairs to return to the training room. I just stared, first at the moth … then at the departing trainer … then again at the moth … mouth open, slack jawed in disbelief.
Not only hadn’t anyone seen the moth except me … the world renowned trainer presenting a program on Pattern Recognition didn’t care! Then to add insult to injury from my point of view he took the moth, which had carefully found a background that virtually made it invisible, and put it in the open on a grey concrete wall where it stood out like a beacon to every and any passing predator that was interested in an easy meal. To my mind nature had been corrupted in that moment, and I was done with the program despite my interest in the topic.
I returned to the room, the trainer was fully engaged in delivering the next section of the program and I sat down to see where it might go, hoping that he’d at least mention the moth he resigned to become a meal. To my chagrin, no such luck … not a word, in fact it became clear to me that he was far more interested in the words he was using to describe pattern and pattern recognition, then he appeared to be interested in the patterns swirling about us.
At the next break I walked up to the trainers, thanked them for their time and the information they’d presented, and told them I was leaving that afternoon to return to the U.S. I booked an evening flight, gathered my stuff, left the hotel and walked out. On the way I checked for the moth of course … and it was no where to be seen. I guess it could have roused itself and flown off, but I expected it was being digested by some other creature who thought it was a catered meal.
I made my way to the airport, boarded my flight … and felt well satisfied that I had experienced Pattern Recognition, despite having to travel half way around the world to do so, pay for a program which I walked out of (I never ask for money-back from a trainer, training program or product because I assume the responsibility for my own decisions and don’t place the blame on others, even if they don’t live up to my expectations … the one exception, if they use bald-faced lies to get me to make a decision), and leaving a day early so I could spend the time with my then young son rather than what I thought would be wasting another day in a program I thought was missing the main point.
In mathematics the definition of “Delta” … i.e.: upper case “D” or represented by the symbol, Δ, the Greek letter “delta” … references difference, usually indicating change of values.
In the Newtonian/Cartesian paradigm of science the delta is typically plotted against some linear scale, despite the irregularity or non-linearity of the change itself. For instance meteorologists might plot a change in temperature over a series of days, weeks, months, years, decades … as an irregular graph, but the logic used to measure the change is still linear, i.e.: temperature measure by a constant change indicated by degrees (either Celsius of Fahrenheit).
This system of measuring change plotted against a linear scale predisposes scientists to think of change in a linear way, and for the pattern represented by that change linearly as well. This prevented many scientists from noticing what was present in the linear system for many years, i.e.: change that occurred beyond the structure of the pattern being measured simply didn’t exist as part of the pattern at all.
This model imploded when Benoit Mandelbrot revealed the original coefficient of chaos, establishing the field of Fractal Geometry. His pursuit in mathematics was of patterns within patterns, as well as patterns building up to larger patterns revealed in the essential form from which they emerged. These kinds of forms shared two specific characteristics, they were irregular – often mimicking the shapes found in nature, and they were complex – as the scale changes from macro to micro there may be even more complexity at each level explored.
Applying the maths of fractal geometry to diverse fields like physics and biology the concepts of Chaos Theory began to emerge as well. Now non-linear, irregular patterns … like those in climate change … could be plotted against a non-linear scale approximating the nature of the change being measured without forcing it to conform to linear form.
The result of using Mandelbrot’s fractal geometry open the eyes of those scientists applying it to aspects of the events they’d never noticed before … like the impact of extremely distant events upon one another, or incredibly small changes in a system compounding to create massive complexity and change within the system. Now the world began to resemble David Bohm’s quantum description of “Wholeness and the Implicate Order” more than Newton’s classical physics.
The Bateson Shift
One of the strongest influences in my intellectual and philosophical development was Gregory Bateson.
“The Pattern That Connects …” is Gregory’s phrase, referring to his search for organization in nature. One of Bateson’s main ideas was that “mind” is a reflection of “nature” and visa-versa. He insisted that organization in biology was unique from organization in non-living systems … FWIW I agree … and I don’t. I think it’s a function of scale and scope instead.
What you’ll find depends on the scale and/or scope used to notice for, explore, examine and measure organization regardless of the system you are operating within. Mandelbrot’s fractal geometry opens the possibly of finding pattern in non-living systems, like crystal formation, that we find in living systems. This can be so pronounced using non-linear, irregular measurements that some non-living systems act like living systems at some level.
Gregory Bateson also made another distinction, i.e.: about dynamic systems versus static systems. Specifically systems that had the ability to act … especially those that act cybernetically. The self-referencing, self-organizing properties of cybernetic systems operate outside of formal, linear logic and linear cause and effect. Instead of following a progressive sequence that can be plotted against a linear scale, these special systems operate in oscillations … on, off, on, off, on, off … ad infinitum, in response to change in the system.
When a cybernetic system become sentient, or capable of thought, the properties of self-awareness and consciousness become possible. One of the great questions is whether or not consciousness can and does impact matter, i.e.: “To what extent does our noticing impact what we notice?”
Another associated question that follows on the heels of the first is, “Is the Universe sentient and/or self-aware?”
Following on Mandelbrot’s exploration into complex systems via fractal geometry this is a reasonable question to ponder based on what seems to be a self-determinate Universe that responds to the events unfolding within it, i.e.: the Universe appears to be a cybernetic system when viewed as a whole … on, off, on, off, on, off … especially at the quantum level.
When we take this way of noticing and considering what we’re noticing to the human level, i.e.: human scale and scope re: space-time, what we perceive are relationships … interactions and inter-dependencies …
Humans act upon the world and the world acts in turn on them …
AND humans act upon one another.
So this becomes the basis for the non-linear logic I’m proposing in these posts
… i.e.: RELATIONSHIP … NOT CHANGE.
In this way the measurement becomes metaphor. Instead of plotting against a scale of any kind, i.e.: regular or irregular, the reference has become ambiguous and internal, versus fixed and external. Only in this way, i.e.: metaphorically, can we hope to relieve the ontological and existential longing we experience as being human.
The Place Of The MythoSelf Process Work …
(As A Metaphorical System)
Within the MythoSelf Process work metaphor replaces measurement. Another way of saying this could be that story replaces diagnosis and/or labeling within the system being observed. The system in question could be an individual or it could be any system that includes the individual but is beyond the limits of self, e.g.: a relationship with other/s.
The essential form is the story, or autobiographical narrative … which is projection of the perceived, subjective reality of the individual. The pre-conscious subjective reality exists before the narrative is formed as direct sensory experience. Direct sensory experience creates immediate ripples in the system via the immediate response of the individual to it. This is followed by the secondary responses as the direct sensory experience transmutes into becoming part of the updated autobiographical narrative that the individual consciously experiences. Then there are further levels of response, i.e.: tertiary, quadriary, and so on … that continue layering ripples into the system, as well as the reactionary ripples created as well.
The premise of the MythoSelf Process work is that any given system is more complex than can be noticed for at a conscious level, and that mastery comes from being able to attend to the information in the system beyond conscious awareness. When this is astutely trained as a process the result is an exquisite level of intuition and the ability to response faster than conscious thought.
The promise of the MythoSelf Process is that by using a metaphorical process of intervention and training the intuitions of mastery emerge, and the individual (or the group) becomes able to notice for signals in the system that are outside of conscious awareness or access. The effect is a defragmentation of thinking, to a localized coherency of thought, a profound sense of directionality guiding the responses and actions of the individual (or group), and the ability to perform at elite levels even, or especially, in uncertain environments that exhibit chaos and complexity …
The result of MythoSelf training is that you become able to act with certainty in the face of uncertainty … however, the catch is you have to give up the desire for certainty.
What may be most pronounced of all about deep training in the MythoSelf Process, beyond the ability to notice for the signals in the system, is the emergence of creativity replacing projection and or prediction, making what was not possible … possible.
Joseph Riggio, Ph.D.