I was relaxing in the hot bath this morning and recalling CenterTao member Dave’s reply to Butterflies have wings; we have minds came to mind. A hot bath never fails to loosen up thought, I find. Anyway, Dave said, “Our models in our minds are staler than we know.” He also quoted George Box, one of the most influential statisticians of the 20th century, who said, “All models are wrong, some are useful”.
I agree with this if we’re talking about judging models ‘by their covers’. Taken at face value all models are wrong. However, when considering a model as mirroring the mind of the model maker, every model is 100% on target. This parallels something Jesus said: “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit”. We are the tree; the models we make, or are attracted to, are the fruit. The tree and its fruit share the same root.
The models to which we are attracted are those that resonate with how we feel — with who we are. They embody what we need or fear to see. The models are not a reality of something ‘out there’, but of something felt ‘in here’. As our needs change, the models that attract us change. For example, why would a person shift from a liberal worldview to a conservative one, or vice versa? Their needs shifted; their fears shifted; their circumstances shifted…
Seeing models as symptoms rather than as realities in their own right is very useful. Now I must ask, if models are symptoms, what does that say about the emotional needs and fears of those of us attracted to the Taoist model? Is this like the shape that has no shape of chapter 14, the model that is no model? Are we less inclined to conform? It is odd, considering chapter 65:
Mysterious virtue is profound and far-reaching,
But when things turn back it turns back with them.
Only then is complete conformity realized.
Isn’t complete conformity to non-conformity conforming completely? It’s just going about it from another direction. The end is the same and I’m back again to chapter 56’s, This is known as mysterious sameness. Considering everything I see as a symptom raises more questions than it answers, and the mystery remains.
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