Prelude: Knowledge

Photo: Paysage du temps 2006

Photo: Paysage du temps 2006


What is it to KNOW?

We perceive. We find patterns in perception.

We respond. We find patterns between perception and response.

We model patterns in our memories, and play pattern against pattern in our minds to find more patterns.

Cognition is the use of neural networks –patterns of activity within a network of nerve cells –as functional models of patterns perceived in the outside world

We validate our mental constructs by seeking their likeness in the outside world

Feedback loops improve our perceptions, models, and responses.

Words and Meanings

We notice others seem to perceive the same patterns we do.
We learn and invent signs and sounds to refer to patterns, and use them to facilitate and communicate thought and intention.


The meaning of a word evolves and picks up associations through use.

Each person has a unique set of mental models and associations for every word.  My set may be very similar or quite different from yours, but generally a word will share a common core of meanings.

Words are symbols. They represent a neural network pattern which models an interaction in the outside world.


Stories are how we put words into a context to describe a larger pattern.

With stories we clarify our thoughts, share knowledge, interests, and questions, and validate our own ideas.

Stories create context which give words meaning.

Stories create context which give our lives meaning.

kaliMyths and Religion

Myth: a story that helps (or helped in the past) a social group to conceptualize important aspects of their lives and culture, but that cannot be validated by objective, repeatable observation or experiment.

Religion: A cultural institution based on regular social interaction that establishes and reinforces a shared belief in a myth.


Theory and Science




Story that explains repeatable observations and experiments, and suggests other patterns which might be validated by further observation and experiment.


The ongoing process of observation, theory, and validation applied to all aspects of our existence. The body of useful knowledge accumulated by that process.

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