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Re: [XP] Re: Metaphor: All that glitters is not gold

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  • yahoogroups@jhrothjr.com
    From: Luiz Esmiralha To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 19, 2005
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      From: "Luiz Esmiralha" <esmiralha.at.gmail.com@...>
      To: "extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com"
      <extremeprogramming.at.yahoogroups.com@...>
      Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2005 2:43 PM
      Subject: [XP] Re: Metaphor: All that glitters is not gold


      >
      > John,
      >
      > aren't our senses constantly creating a metaphor of the real world so
      > we can understand it? If you agree, wouldn't having this mechanism
      > built into our senses make us highly dependent of metaphorical
      > reasoning (and it includes more than understanding metaphorical
      > language) for a normal life?

      That's one of the places where we confuse ourselves.

      It's quite true that our brain processes a lot of information
      into forms that don't resemble what came in very much,
      but recognizing a particular pattern of optic nerve activation
      as a chair is a completely different process than recognizing
      "all that glitters is not gold" as a statement about appearances
      and real value.

      The metaphors we talk about with the XP metaphor
      practice are in the second category.

      We might think of it in terms of levels. When we write
      a Java program to process something, we can know that
      the program will be compiled, that result will be interpreted
      by a program written in C, that will be compiled into
      machine language which in turn will be interpreted by a
      processor's microcode, which in turn will be... etc.

      None of that means anything whatsoever; as far as we're
      concerned, bedrock is the Java language.

      In the same sense, the mechanism that the brain uses to
      extract an instance of the traversal pattern, or the
      containment pattern, or the dozen or so other patterns
      that form the bedrock of human experiance is completely
      irrelevant. It's that bedrock that's relevant.

      John Roth.

      >
      > Cheers,
      > Luiz Esmiralha
      >
      > On 4/19/05, jhrothjr <yahoogroups@...> wrote:
      >>
      >>
      >> I've seen several people take the viewpoint that everything is
      >> metaphor. It's a popular viewpoint in such fields as literary
      >> criticism and certain segments of language research, and it's one that
      >> I think is absolutely wrong.
      >>
      >> I haven't mentioned this before because it seemed that, absent
      >> evidence, it was a "my expert is better than your expert" type of
      >> arguement and better left alone. Now there is solid evidence that
      >> metaphor is associated with a particular part of the brain;
      >> specifically the left angular gyrus.
      >>
      >> http://www.newscientist.com/channel/being-human/mg18624955.800
      >>
      >> Everything is NOT metaphor.
      >>
      >> In case this vanishes before someone reading the archives sees it,
      >> here is the article, with the journal reference:
      >>
      >> ------------ start ----------------
      >>
      >> IS THERE a place in the brain where metaphors are understood? A study
      >> of patients with localised brain damage suggests there is.
      >>
      >> Vilayanur Ramachandran and his colleagues at the University of
      >> California at San Diego were intrigued by four patients who were
      >> mentally lucid, fluent in English and highly intelligent, but could
      >> not understand proverbs.
      >>
      >> When one of the patients was asked to explain the adage "all that
      >> glitters is not gold", for instance, he completely missed the
      >> metaphorical angle, replying that people should be careful when buying
      >> jewellery.
      >>
      >> All the patients had damage to part of the brain called the left
      >> angular gyrus. This lies at the intersection of the brain's temporal,
      >> parietal and occipital lobes, which process tactile, auditory and
      >> visual information respectively. The findings were presented at a
      >> meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society this week in New York.
      >>
      >> From issue 2495 of New Scientist magazine, 16 April 2005, page 18
      >>
      >> ----------------- end -----------------
      >>
      >>
      >> John Roth
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
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      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >
      >
      > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
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    • BenAveling
      ... I wouldn t agree. Our brains continually create models of the world, but a model isn t the same thing as a metaphor. ... Metaphor is more about language
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 20, 2005
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        >>aren't our senses constantly creating a metaphor of the real world so
        >>we can understand it?
        >>

        I wouldn't agree. Our brains continually create models of the world,
        but a model isn't the same thing as a metaphor.

        >>If you agree, wouldn't having this mechanism
        >>built into our senses make us highly dependent of metaphorical
        >>reasoning (and it includes more than understanding metaphorical
        >>language) for a normal life?
        >>
        >>

        Metaphor is more about language than perception. Metaphor suggest
        theories about new concepts, based on existing knowledge of old concepts.

        It's a type of reasoning by analogy, but it's analogy between things
        that are fundamentally not alike.

        > recognizing a particular pattern of optic nerve activation
        >as a chair is a completely different process than recognizing
        >"all that glitters is not gold" as a statement about appearances
        >and real value.
        >
        >

        A picture of a chair is not a metaphor for a chair. A picture of a man
        wearing a suit and armed with a bayonet might be a metaphor for business
        as war, or for war as business.

        >The metaphors we talk about with the XP metaphor
        >practice are in the second category.
        >
        >

        Well yes. But "all that glitters..." isn't an example of a system
        metaphor. A system metaphor needs to say something about structure,
        about the decomposition of the system into behaviour and responsibilities.

        >"patterns that form the bedrock of human experiance"
        >

        This is a better example of something approaching a system metaphor.
        (And a shining example of how common metaphor is.)

        The word bedrock has a literal meaning, but here it is used to say that
        the relationship between 'patterns' and 'human experience' is,
        metaphorically, the same relationship as between bedrock and a building.

        Regards, Ben A.
      • yahoogroups@jhrothjr.com
        From: BenAveling To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 20, 2005
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          From: "BenAveling" <bena.at.xenon.triode.net.au@...>
          To: "extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com"
          <extremeprogramming.at.yahoogroups.com@...>
          Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2005 7:05 AM
          Subject: Re: [XP] Re: Metaphor: All that glitters is not gold


          >
          > Well yes. But "all that glitters..." isn't an example of a system
          > metaphor. A system metaphor needs to say something about structure,
          > about the decomposition of the system into behaviour and responsibilities.

          Maybe for a SPAM detector? Or something that detects
          common examples of marketing hype?

          Anyway, the comment was from the original article.
          The pattern is: "example substitutes for the
          whole" type of reasoning that we use for such things as xUnit
          and FIT: that is, Specification by Example.

          John Roth


          >>"patterns that form the bedrock of human experiance"
          >>
          >
          > This is a better example of something approaching a system metaphor.
          > (And a shining example of how common metaphor is.)
          >
          > The word bedrock has a literal meaning, but here it is used to say that
          > the relationship between 'patterns' and 'human experience' is,
          > metaphorically, the same relationship as between bedrock and a building.
          >
          > Regards, Ben A.
        • BenAveling
          ... As stated, I don t think the metaphor is deep enough to serve as a system metaphor. It only contains two terms: glitter and gold . For a spam
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 20, 2005
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            >>"all that glitters..." isn't an example of a system
            >>metaphor. A system metaphor needs to say something about structure,
            >>about the decomposition of the system into behaviour and responsibilities.
            >>
            >>

            >Maybe for a SPAM detector? Or something that detects
            >common examples of marketing hype?
            >
            >

            As stated, I don't think the metaphor is 'deep' enough to serve as a
            system metaphor.

            It only contains two terms: 'glitter' and 'gold'.

            For a spam detector, I would need terms for gold and not-gold (not-spam
            and spam). And a lot of other terms as well.

            I don't even know if glitter would be useful, given that it isn't a
            distinguishing feature.

            But maybe glitter is a necessary-but-not-sufficient condition for
            gold-candidate to be accepted as gold-certified?

            If so, I still need terms for the other attributes of gold-candidate
            which allow me to make a gold-not-gold-decision.

            I probably want terms for thing-that-glistens and
            thing-that-doesn't-glisten.

            These things are central to the system, they ought to have actual names
            of their own.

            Defining them in terms of their relationship to things that are in the
            metaphor is only 2nd best.

            >Anyway, the comment was from the original article.
            >
            >

            Yes, I'd forgotten that. But I think it's worth making the point that
            understanding metaphor, which isn't actually easy, still doesn't give
            you an full understanding of system metaphor.

            To return to the example, there is another metaphor behind "all that
            glitters..." which is "fools gold".

            Try this: "We think of the mail on your remote host as stuff in a gold
            miners sluice-pan. Some of it is 24 carat gold, some of it is lesser
            grades and much of it is sand and fools-gold. We wash away the sand and
            bring anything that glitters back to town to be assayed. . . ."

            That, I think, is bedrock you could build a whole system on. "All that
            glitters..." is just a pebble by comparison. It's solid enough, but too
            small to be useful.

            Gotta run.

            Ben A.
          • konopelko_pavel
            John, Are you familiar with the recent work by Jeff Hawkins published in the book On Intelligence ? Accordingly to his theory, the human cortex is organized
            Message 5 of 8 , Apr 20, 2005
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              John,

              Are you familiar with the recent work by Jeff Hawkins published in
              the book "On Intelligence"? Accordingly to his theory, the human
              cortex is organized into a hierarchical structure. Each layer in
              this structure relies on the same "cortical algorithm" to process
              sequences of input stimuli from the lower layer to generate its
              output sequence of stimuli to the upper layer. Each layer is
              subdivided into areas, such that each area is connected with
              multiple areas in the layer below.

              Accordingly to this theory, the output of the optical nerve and the
              sentence "all that glitters..." are processed in completely the same
              way by our brain. The differnce is only that the "raw" senses (like
              optical nerve) are processed lower in the hierarchy compared to the
              meaning of a spoken phrase.


              Regards,
              --Pavel Konopelko


              --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, yahoogroups@j... wrote:

              > From: "Luiz Esmiralha" <esmiralha.at.gmail.com@y...>
              > To: "extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com"
              > <extremeprogramming.at.yahoogroups.com@y...>
              > Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2005 2:43 PM
              > Subject: [XP] Re: Metaphor: All that glitters is not gold
              >
              >
              > >
              > > John,
              > >
              > > aren't our senses constantly creating a metaphor of the real
              world so
              > > we can understand it? If you agree, wouldn't having this
              mechanism
              > > built into our senses make us highly dependent of metaphorical
              > > reasoning (and it includes more than understanding metaphorical
              > > language) for a normal life?
              >
              > That's one of the places where we confuse ourselves.
              >
              > It's quite true that our brain processes a lot of information
              > into forms that don't resemble what came in very much,
              > but recognizing a particular pattern of optic nerve activation
              > as a chair is a completely different process than recognizing
              > "all that glitters is not gold" as a statement about appearances
              > and real value.
              >
            • bena@xenon.triode.net.au
              ... Hi, Pavel, How does Jeff Hawkins reconcile being processed in the same way with being processed in different parts of the brain? Regards, Ben This email
              Message 6 of 8 , Apr 21, 2005
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                > Accordingly to [Jeff Hawkins], the output of the optical nerve and the
                > sentence "all that glitters..." are processed in completely the same
                > way by our brain. The difference is only that the "raw" senses (like
                > optical nerve) are processed lower in the hierarchy compared to the
                > meaning of a spoken phrase.

                Hi, Pavel,

                How does Jeff Hawkins reconcile being processed in the same way with being
                processed in different parts of the brain?

                Regards, Ben

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              • yahoogroups@jhrothjr.com
                From: konopelko_pavel To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                Message 7 of 8 , Apr 21, 2005
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                  From: "konopelko_pavel"
                  <konopelko_grp.at.gmx.de@...>
                  To: "extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com"
                  <extremeprogramming.at.yahoogroups.com@...>
                  Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2005 1:46 AM
                  Subject: [XP] Re: Metaphor: All that glitters is not gold


                  > John,
                  >
                  > Are you familiar with the recent work by Jeff Hawkins published in
                  > the book "On Intelligence"? Accordingly to his theory, the human
                  > cortex is organized into a hierarchical structure. Each layer in
                  > this structure relies on the same "cortical algorithm" to process
                  > sequences of input stimuli from the lower layer to generate its
                  > output sequence of stimuli to the upper layer. Each layer is
                  > subdivided into areas, such that each area is connected with
                  > multiple areas in the layer below.
                  >
                  > Accordingly to this theory, the output of the optical nerve and the
                  > sentence "all that glitters..." are processed in completely the same
                  > way by our brain. The differnce is only that the "raw" senses (like
                  > optical nerve) are processed lower in the hierarchy compared to the
                  > meaning of a spoken phrase.

                  There is a lot we don't know about how the brain processes
                  in detail. What we do know is that various parts are specialized
                  for various functions, and we do know enough about some of
                  those functions to be able to build predictive models. Those are,
                  however, still a very small part of what's there.

                  I'm quite leary about broad, sweeping generalizations. I've
                  lived long enough to see them fall flat with the accumulation
                  of more data.

                  John Roth
                  >
                  >
                  > Regards,
                  > --Pavel Konopelko
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, yahoogroups@j... wrote:
                  >
                  >> From: "Luiz Esmiralha" <esmiralha.at.gmail.com@y...>
                  >> To: "extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com"
                  >> <extremeprogramming.at.yahoogroups.com@y...>
                  >> Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2005 2:43 PM
                  >> Subject: [XP] Re: Metaphor: All that glitters is not gold
                  >>
                  >>
                  >> >
                  >> > John,
                  >> >
                  >> > aren't our senses constantly creating a metaphor of the real
                  > world so
                  >> > we can understand it? If you agree, wouldn't having this
                  > mechanism
                  >> > built into our senses make us highly dependent of metaphorical
                  >> > reasoning (and it includes more than understanding metaphorical
                  >> > language) for a normal life?
                  >>
                  >> That's one of the places where we confuse ourselves.
                  >>
                  >> It's quite true that our brain processes a lot of information
                  >> into forms that don't resemble what came in very much,
                  >> but recognizing a particular pattern of optic nerve activation
                  >> as a chair is a completely different process than recognizing
                  >> "all that glitters is not gold" as a statement about appearances
                  >> and real value.
                  >>
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
                  >
                  > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                  > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
                  >
                  > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.com
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • konopelko_pavel
                  Ben, What I say below is my own interpretation, so take it with a grain of salt. First of all, Hawkins separates the cortical sheet from the rest of the
                  Message 8 of 8 , Apr 22, 2005
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                    Ben,

                    What I say below is my own interpretation, so take it with a grain of
                    salt. First of all, Hawkins separates the cortical sheet from the rest
                    of the brain. His theory (at least to date) is mostly about the
                    neocortex, since he beleives that the latter is responsible for
                    intelligence.

                    Think about being processed in the same way as executing the same
                    algorithm. Two physically distinct computers can still execute the
                    same algorithm, which means that given equal inputs they will produce
                    equal outputs. In the same way, two different cortex areas can
                    function in exactly the same way.

                    The difference is how their inputs and outputs are connected. This is
                    determined partially by the physical location of the parts on the one
                    hand and by the history of inputs processed by each part in its life
                    time (i.e. learning) on the other hand.

                    It is because of this difference that the same metaphor is not
                    necessarily interpreted in the same way by different persons. Although
                    common cultural background helps a lot, still a good metaphor choice is
                    more of an art as of a science.


                    Regards,
                    --Pavel Konopelko


                    --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, bena@x wrote:
                    >
                    > > Accordingly to [Jeff Hawkins], the output of the optical nerve and
                    the
                    > > sentence "all that glitters..." are processed in completely the
                    same
                    > > way by our brain. The difference is only that the "raw" senses
                    (like
                    > > optical nerve) are processed lower in the hierarchy compared to the
                    > > meaning of a spoken phrase.
                    >
                    > Hi, Pavel,
                    >
                    > How does Jeff Hawkins reconcile being processed in the same way with
                    being
                    > processed in different parts of the brain?
                    >
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