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TOPIC: "All models eventually break"

"All models eventually break" 09 Dec 2015 00:08 #101562

I saw the subject above in this KFD thread: awakenetwork.org/forum/kfd-public/13533-...-liners-ideas#101516

I thought, sounds like a good thread. If true, how do we skilfully integrate the fact that all models break down into a model?

There's something Heisenberg Uncertainty-esq about it. As if in the act of capturing something in a model, we break apart it's usefulness. Sounds a bit like my practice. If there is a name for some aspect of my contemplative experience, when the experience arises, so does the name, the model attached to it, and that bit of discursive thought disrupts the experience. If I didn't know the model, didn't suffer from 'recognition-disruption', would I 'get it' sooner? Would model-avoidance disrupt realization and insight, again breaking the model?

Profound question or sophomoric? :)
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"All models eventually break" 09 Dec 2015 07:01 #101565

Your question points at one of the major insights: although we can never count on anything, we can paradoxically count on impermanence. There is a strange kind of relaxation that happens when this truth is really seen.

Bill's quote had an extra meaning to me since it was delivered as his own body was breaking. The model of the modeler breaks down eventually, too.
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"All models eventually break" 09 Dec 2015 09:42 #101568

A further thought-- we can have no knowledge of what is on the other side of the body breaking down. We have no certainty about what appears when a model breaks down, either. One step off the edge...
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"All models eventually break" 09 Dec 2015 09:56 #101569

Yeah, off the edge.... and there is no safety net. We are always falling. Models are attempts to avoid that feeling.
Last Edit: 09 Dec 2015 09:56 by Chris Marti.
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"All models eventually break" 09 Dec 2015 10:49 #101570

matthew sexton wrote:
how do we skilfully integrate the fact that all models break down into a model?

Build a meta-model :lol:

Meditators build models. Eventually they realize their model is breaking down. Then they build another model.

So that's your meta-model: a model of the modeling process.

Of course, since this is itself a model, it must also eventually be discarded. :oops:
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"All models eventually break" 09 Dec 2015 10:55 #101571

Chris Marti wrote:
We are always falling. Models are attempts to avoid that feeling.

That made me feel creepy, because I love me a good model! I have not considered that as an avoidance thing before.
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"All models eventually break" 09 Dec 2015 11:17 #101574

Chris Marti wrote:
Yeah, off the edge.... and there is no safety net. We are always falling. Models are attempts to avoid that feeling.

models *can be* an expression of avoidance. But sometimes a model is just a cigar.. um, model I mean ;)
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"All models eventually break" 09 Dec 2015 11:28 #101575

Tom Otvos wrote:
Chris Marti wrote:
We are always falling. Models are attempts to avoid that feeling.

That made me feel creepy, because I love me a good model! I have not considered that as an avoidance thing before.

If that makes you feel creepy, keep exploring that whole thing like a koan. There is some good stuff in looking at where you don't want to look.
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"All models eventually break" 09 Dec 2015 11:37 #101576

Russell wrote:
Tom Otvos wrote:
Chris Marti wrote:
We are always falling. Models are attempts to avoid that feeling.

That made me feel creepy, because I love me a good model! I have not considered that as an avoidance thing before.

If that makes you feel creepy, keep exploring that whole thing like a koan. There is some good stuff in looking at where you don't want to look.

+1
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"All models eventually break" 09 Dec 2015 13:35 #101577

Derek wrote:
matthew sexton wrote:
how do we skilfully integrate the fact that all models break down into a model?

Build a meta-model :lol:

Meditators build models. Eventually they realize their model is breaking down. Then they build another model.

So that's your meta-model: a model of the modeling process.

Of course, since this is itself a model, it must also eventually be discarded. :oops:

I like this meta-model, in the context of the unfolding sense of self:

models (in general) can behave in at least two major ways towards new data. They can either *assimilate* the new data to the old model or they can *accommodate* the new data by transforming the old model. In terms of identity, the sense of self, we could have a (sub)model that says "I am a nice person'. We get cut off in traffic and curse the other driver out. <-- new data. Assimilation would be to rationalize the new data away: "I AM a nice person, that person is a jerk, they are so much of a jerk they made me act unlike my nature!'. Accomodation would be something like 'huh, sometimes I am a nice person, and sometimes I can be a jerk, how interesting'.

As life goes on accommodation allows our sense of self to be more flexible and inclusive resulting in less defensiveness, more inter-personal realism, more maturity altogether. This is growing up.

But models in general are representations (re-presentations) of other experiences. Like snapshots that attempt to map three dimensional unfolding experience in terms of fixed two dimensional descriptions. There is a fundamental limit to how accurate they can be in that, in order to function, maps/models/representations have to be *unlike* what they are modeling. They are intrinsically going to break down. The map is not the territory and this is not a problem- or only becomes one insofar as we expect models and experiences to conform to each other completely.

So what happens when this fundamental limit of modeling as a basis for identity, relationships and functioning starts to become conscious? what happens to an experiential continuum in which these fundamental limits start to become problematic rather than unexamined? I think this is one way to model (ha!) the emerging motivation to explore the nature of experience rather than collecting experiences/models-- the motivation towards contemplative practice as a means to waking up.

I think there is an argument embedded in this model of mine which is that 'awakening' basically involves becoming more at home in the unmappable quality of experience, the fleeting un-pin-downable-ness of experiencing. Helpful to remember when I become too comfortable with a given description of the 'way things are'-- too comfortable means I'm assimilating experience to a spiritual model based on one kind of experience becoming the standard by which other kinds are evaluated. A natural mistake!
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"All models eventually break" 09 Dec 2015 14:12 #101578

I don't think we have to get into judgmental language about model-making; it is sufficient to acknowledge that model-making about the state of radiant acceptance of not-knowing-- is completely self defeating. It is something like wanting to sky-dive but not to jump out of the plane.

I'm listening to something I find germane to this point right now, one of Steven Tainer's recent talks about the nature of mind:

media.berkeleymonastery.org/steven/2015/20151202.mp3
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"All models eventually break" 09 Dec 2015 14:28 #101579

Jake St. Onge wrote:
'awakening' basically involves becoming more at home in the unmappable quality of experience

Right. I've been seeing it that way recently. The problem solved by awakening is that our thought-model is out of whack with our actual experience.
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"All models eventually break" 10 Dec 2015 09:17 #101586

I realize that the use of models has been useful for many. But, for me model making is problematic. We all have a tendency to understand, to place experience into neat boxes, to concretize. This is useful in building bridges and communicating. But for some of us, that is counterproductive toward progress along the path., the pathless path as some teachers put it. It seems to put a conceptual barrier between me and experience.

The same with noting/labeling. For me noting/labeling was very useful at one stage but no more for the same reason.

I still occasionally look at a list of process labels under each of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. I might notice a label such as anxiety and think I should set an intention of noticing if it exists in my next sit. But once or if I notice it I drop the label.

Bits and pieces: The third patriarch of China said: The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences… Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. Meister Eckhart, the Christian mystic, said one has to bust through God to get to God. That is, leave our concepts behind. During my Zen years, my work with koans (which I pretty much failed at) led me to see the limitations of words and concepts. My earliest exposure to Buddhism was reading and trying to understand Alan Watts in high school. He harped on the theme of the limitations of our usual dualistic thought processes.

There is also the problem of scripting. I think it might have been Joseph Goldstein who said that if he announced at the beginning of a retreat that twitching of one’s left hand little finger was a sign of significant progress, then a lot of people would start to report this twitching in private interviews.

I just do my practice and see what happens.
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