Monday, October 13, 2008

Time-Binding - So What? Part IV

J., a reader of this blog, indicated that he wasn't very interested in the notion of "time-binding." I've used the previous posts with the above title to address his implied question "So what?" Why should time-binding concern him?

I hope I've given him (and others) some things to chew on. Time-binding, for one thing, got Korzybski started. Trying to figure it out led him to develop his subsequent work.

Aside from its relevance to understand what Korzybski was doing, what (as J. asked) "authorizes this particular description over all the other potential descriptions of 'what dominantly characterizes humans'?"

Korzybski felt (and I agree) that this capacity to build upon what others have done—based upon our uniquely symbolic brains—does most characterize humans. If that at least seems plausible then we can proceed to see what develops from it. Fruitfulness 'is all'. What develops from starting to think of yourself as a time-binder? Let's extensionalize this, bring it down to earth.

As an exercise, I suggest contemplating one or more of these time-binding questions:
* Can you find anything that you have made, arranged, organized, composed, written, etc., that didn't in some way depend upon the contributions of others?
* Take an object from your pocket, desktop, or around your house or office. How did it get here? How was it manufactured? Trace things back a bit. How many people were involved in making it and getting it to the store or place where you bought it or got it from? Who invented it? What other inventions were required to produce it? Et cetera.
* How did you come to be reading this weblog?
These questions can help you get a feel for yourself as a time-binder. What kind of difference could becoming more consciously aware of yourself as a time-binder make in your life?

1 comment:

Jason said...

I'm definitely finding time-binding more interesting as you've been writing about it. Nonetheless:

How are A.K (and you) measuring what 'most characterizes humans', this is a very abstract statement. As you can imagine, the way we measure this changes our results.
I can't come up with any meaningful measuring method, i.e. How can state "Time-binding classification characterizes humans more than DNA differences, or Physical Attribute differences, etc" There's no universal quantifier for these vastly different properties that characterize humans. Also, no timeline was specified, will time-binding --always--? most characterize humans.

I propose A.K. did not apply consciousness of abstraction when he formulated time-binding (recall that his semantic tools came afterwards, so he wouldn't have had semantic reactions of consciousness of abstraction when he formulated time-binding):

A.K. is essentially creating a Map of behaviour. Typically we're accustom to maps which model 'territory outside of us', thus we can create descriptions, draw inferences, and try to make the maps as accurate as possible about the territory.

However, when we start talking about behaviour maps, e.g. "I want go to the store", we're not describing 'territory outside of us'. I think this is where A.K. mistake lies.

He takes a map of description and tries to make it a behaviour map in the 'simplest way possible', i.e. "Humans are described by time-binding classification" thus "Humans 'should' time-bind 'better'"

In order to make maps of behaviour 'accurate', we need to ask ourselves what the territory is that we are abstracting. Well, whether we choose to map it or not, our current cognitive psychology theories propose that our emotional valences determine our behaviour, etc.

I share A.K.'s desires to want to create a society containing a degree of cooperation, stability, empathy, etc. It is not necessary however, to form a ideology about this desire in the form of some sophisticated classification/purpose system. The desire itself is all that is required. And in pursuing time-binding as a purpose, we might miss other more -effective- means of achieving 'cooperation, stability, empathy, etc, (or whatever you desire' such as programs like "Roots of Empathy", etc

Look forward to the next one. Cheers =)