necessity of models

On what T sent out talking about hiding behind the models like Perry and Kohlberg and wanting to put his experiences into more universal language, I want to defend the models some.

I have found that a good way to keep myself honest is to try explaining what I am doing as if I am talking to someone who isn’t in mentor. It bugged me the other day when I was eating lunch with aimee and matt, and the other girl who was there asked me something about my religious beliefs. I couldn’t answer her. I’m so used to thinking in terms of perry and whatever else that I couldn’t quickly put together an explanation that would make sense to a normal person [:)].

It’s easy to hide behind models. The stuff I’m going through is experienced by just about every other person on the planet, and it’s stupid to think that other people won’t understand…I just have to do the work to put it in less derived terms.

Making sure I can give a meaningful description of what I’m going through without relying on models keeps me using them to lie to myself.

I would agree and disagree with what T is saying here, yes it is a problem to just have as a statement of your religious position “I am Perry 4b and Kohlberg 5.” That would be completely meaningless to anyone else and more than that not being able to see what is behind the models and what it means to be Perry X and Kohlberg Y bespeaks of a lack of grounding of the models.

I think that it is fine to describe myself as Perry 4 to somebody if they know what I am talking about. There are associations and connotations with that description that I do not have to explain because they are a part of the model. This is the same reason that the MBTI is useful for a shorthand because it allows for sets of connotations to be passed along with a little bit of information.

A while back I balked at the thought of this because there is an amount of uncertainty in relying on common connotations to pass information, the person who I am talking to might not understand what I am talking about in the same way that I do. By mot expressly defining my terms I leave open the possibility of miscommunication.

I have gotten a better feel though for what aspects of my understanding of the world are markedly deviant from other people’s. When it is likely that I will be misunderstood I clarify. Also, I have gotten better at recognizing when a person is misunderstanding and I am getting better at figuring out which questions to ask to find out where they are mapping differently than I am.

Back to the subject of the models, I don’t that often use the models to describe a state that I am in, but I find them very helpful in describing transitions and movement. The Perry model is a concept of a system of development. Not everyone has an analogue for this system of development. Metacognition is not a skill that everyone has acquired. To say that everyone has done this might be true but to say that everyone has thought about it enough to have something to map it to when you try to talk about it is false.

I have to explain the models oftentimes because the person that I am talking to can understand the state that I am in fine (or at least they have something in their life to map it to) but when I start describing relationships between states I lose alot of people.

As my understanding of the Perry model has gotten more concrete and I have started seeing it in action I have gotten better at describing the model in terms of the underlying reasons and motivations for change, but still it is hT to have anchors placed in it to refer to. Not only that, but divvying it up into Perry’s model helps the person that I am explaining it to to contextualize it and sort it out.

In short, I like the models and I think that they have their place. As with most tools they can be abused. When you get to the point where Perry becomes reality instead of a description of what you are observing, then I think that you have a problem. Used properly though I think that they are very helpful.

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